By Amy McCollom
Read any good books lately? Didn’t that used to be one of the “standard-issue” phrases to start small talk? Ask that question now anywhere but in a library or a bookstore, and you are sure to get a funny look. Reading for enjoyment has lost favor among the masses, especially for those under the age of 50.
It’s sad, really. I treasured my books so much when I was a child. But back then, we used our imaginations more. We didn’t rely on televisions or videos to show us what we were thinking or hearing in our minds. It was so much better in our minds.
I saw some interesting books at Target the other day, obviously for children, but I was tempted to buy them anyway. They were titled I Broke My Butt and I Need A New Butt, both by Dawn McMillan, Illustrated by Ross Kinnaird. I heard from my niece later, who has these books, and The Wonky Donkey , which I love, and she said they are quite hilarious. I shall have to check that out. As I said previously, we all need to laugh more and fret less. Perhaps I should just buy all three of these books and add them to my bookshelves.
If I made you read a book this month, what kind of book would you choose? My dad liked westerns, Louis L’Amour and such. My mom liked tell-all books and biographies. She wanted to know dirt on people, the gossip. I liked books about animals; Big Ben, Lassie, Benji and the sort when I was a kid. I had a favorite one about a seeing-eye dog, called Follow My Leader by James B. Garfield.
I still like books about animals, but mostly non-fiction. Now that is a funny thing there; nonfiction vs. fiction. Truth vs. a made up story. I guess since there are no absolutes, well we are told to believe that anyway, then books cannot be labelled simply truth and lies, or facts and made up, can they?… No, the powers that be had to come up with suitable labels for even the knowledge that we have thus far. Who gets to decide if something is fiction or nonfiction? Certainly not just the author. The powers that be? Ah, the pen is mightier than the sword, indeed. But I digress.
Back to book choices. If you were to choose a book from my personal library today, you could pick: The Complete Book Of Dog, Modern Manners, Creative Choice Hypnosis, Yoga For Dummies, or People I Want To Punch In The Throat. I also own Fringe Science, Buy*Ology, Walt Whitman Poems, and The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. Perhaps you would choose How To Know If Your Cat Is Plotting To Murder You, The 15-Minute Psychologist, The 100 Thing Challenge, Wuthering Heights, or The Divine Defense. This is just a sample of my bookshelf, and I do not loan out my books, but I am sure your library can give you more information on how to get a copy of any books that are mentioned above, if you are interested. And I hope you are interested in a book. Books are whole new worlds.
My husband’s books consist of a lot of historical volumes, sports biographies, and sports related statistical trivia books. He also likes cartoon books like The Far Side, and spy and conspiracy books. We both have a shelf full of religious reading along with multiple versions of The Bible and devotionals and dictionaries to go along with them.
It is never a waste of time to read. Some people would try and make you think so, but those people are wrong. Reading a real book has been scientifically proven to make you smarter, boost your brain power, make you more empathetic, help you relax, ward off Alzheimer’s, help you understand what you are reading better, help you sleep, increase your vocabulary, and it is contagious to those around you.
Reading is good for you and your family. So read together, start a new year with a new habit, and a new book. Maybe start a family book club, or one online. Remember, reading is a privilege not everyone can enjoy. 66 percent of the world population cannot read at all. You are privileged and gifted with such an ability that should not be under-valued or taken for granted. So read, my dear friends. We are the lucky ones who can, and quite frankly, should. I challenge thee.