I love to read.
So this is a pretty broad statement. Considering it is appearing in a newspaper, I might venture to guess that many who have stumbled here enjoy reading also. But, I must confess I’m still not a solid fan of e-reading.
While I am aware that many like text messaging, smart phones and ‘instant’ everything - I’m still not totally on board. Admittedly I am a proud owner of the First Generation Kindle. It was, after all a Favorite Thing of Ms. Oprah Winfrey, so of course it was right at the top of my Christmas list many years ago. It is a genius invention and I still do turn to it time and again, but truthfully I like books - real books.
Perhaps it’s nostalgia or an old habit dying hard, but I like to pack my book around. I like to really turn the pages. I even like the smell of a new book and I especially love when friends shared books.
But this piece is not to weigh the pros and cons of the printed word versus the e-reader, they each have a niche in this day and age and my hope is that one does not completely replace the other.
Lately, what I seem to struggle with the most is time, yes… time to read. Now, I am not the person who wishes for more hours in the day - personally I find that foolish. Life/time is much more about budgeting. It’s a game of sorts if you really think about. We as people, parents, spouses, sons, daughters, friends are dealt a hand. Each hand holds endless choices and possibilities and we ultimately choose what our hand consists of. That’s where the game comes in, how you choose to adjust and react to what you’re dealt can indeed make or break you.
As we choose more, other parts of our lives are affected leaving us less time for all of the things we love. And so - we adjust. Eventually we seem to get everything in its respective niche only to have one more thing dropped in our hand and instantly the balance is once again lost.
As a full-time mom of two children, who happens to also work out of the home, my books have gone neglected. I look to them often. I even pull one or two off the shelves and thumb through as if I am about to dive right in and read. Sadly there is a stack of four books that I have already started, waiting on my night stand to be revisited.
Recently I tried going to bed 30 minutes early to do a little reading before tuckering out. Those sessions lasted only five minutes before my head was hard on the pillow and my book next to me.
One of my dearest friends is in a Book Club, so she keeps me up to speed on what I ‘really must read.’ She shares many books with me and somehow it eventually turns into a bit of a joke between us. On occasion I actually have forgotten what I am reading (the title), not the contents. Maybe my head is a little busy, perhaps even distracted. Without fail I always defer to my friend for confirmation on what is at the top of my stack on my night stand.
Late last week, while out shopping I had a friend ask what I was currently reading. As I shared my recent book title, she produced the same one from her handbag. She of course, with just 24 hours with this book was light years ahead of me. As I looked at the placement of her bookmark versus mine, I tried to not be jealous. Instead I listened to her every word, hoping she would not spoil the book for me (and she didn’t).
As the two of us shared our love for reading and books she mentioned that she reads in the early morning hours. I used to do this once, then I traded that time for morning runs. My running times have since varied, so perhaps I will try early morning reading again. Can’t hurt to try.
At the conclusion of our conversation I shared with the friend that the kids and I had recently visited the Oakdale Library Book Sale. My book shelves are now filled with new treasures, each begging to be picked first.
When my son was a toddler, I read an article about fostering a love for reading in our children. The article shared the importance of not only reading to your children, but silently to yourself in front of them. Essentially the parent is role modeling a positive image of reading for pleasure. So far it seems to have worked.
My oldest loves to read and gravitates to his personal library without invitation, only to have his younger sister trail behind with her own books.
Reading is magical really. The places we can travel, experiences we can have, friendships we foster all through the printed pages or electronically transferred novel.
My hope is that as time continues to pass and everything becomes more instantaneous, as a society we do not lose our love for the written word. Nothing can take you a million miles away faster and more effortlessly than a well written book.
Now, what was I reading again?
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.