Books have always been my best friends

Posted on December 31, 2011


Wow, today’s unusual. Going for a second blog post. But the first was a little self-deprecation and more to get me in the writing mode. Which brings me to this topic: reading to write or writing to read. I know that might not make much sense. But in my own internal dialogue it goes like this: Why do I write? Why do I read?

The latter question is the easiest to answer. I love reading. And I’ll read most anything. In 30+ years of reading I can only think of 3 books I never finished. The first was Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter and it was an assignment in high school. I don’t think I made it through 3 chapters. The next book was a year later (also an assignment for my Poly Sci class in college) and it was Alexander de Tocqueville’s “Democracy in America”. I don’t think I made it through a chapter of that book. That was the driest piece of literature (and I use that term loosely) that I had ever laid eyes on. I would fall asleep within minutes after cracking it open. The last book was the first Harry Potter book.

But that’s not my point here. Not what I don’t like, but the fact that I do love to read. In fact, with many novels seeming to go straight to the big screen these days I find myself drawn to the book to see if the movie’s worth watching only to enjoy the book so much I really don’t want to see how some director ruined the plot or my favorite character.

Looking back, I would say it was in 5th grade I really took to books. I remember being fairly good at sports but not being one of the popular kids I would always be one of the last picked for any team. I’d have to earn and prove myself each game then still get picked last. There was a book called Slide, Danny, Slide that I grabbed from the library cart when it came into class one day. I can honestly say it was the first time I “identified” with a character. Danny was me. I was Danny. A few weeks later I had picked Wilson Rawls’ “Where the Red Fern Grows”. That’s a tough one for a 10-year-old. particularly one who gets picked last for baseball or football and he’s trying to hold back tears when Little Ann curls up next to Old Dan and dies.

Of course, I also felt a kinship with Billy as well as he was the outsider when he went to Tahlequah to pick up the dogs. Here I am in my classroom with kids I’ve grown up with and having to earn respect every day.

My love for reading really took off once I hit junior high and high school. Oftentimes I’d be finished with the homework early and looking for something to do so I wound up reading through the short stories and novels in the English book. Other than the poems, I would wind up reading those books cover to cover before the year ended and wind up getting passes to the library to something else to read.

Now it’s the 21st century and thanks to Amazon and Kindle, my reading has been taken to an entirely new level. It’s just sooo easy hitting Next Page. I used to fly through books, now I tear through them and almost light speed. And, almost every week I’m on a plane for 3 to 5 hours so I have plenty of quite time to read.

Now, I’m adding writing to my passion. If you can read, you can write. If you can write, you can read.