When my sister and I were growing up, our parents paid us a penny a page for any book we read. At the time I appreciated this as a way to supplement my paltry allowance, now I see how this developed my penchant for reading. Once the Harry Potter books came out my parents discontinued the program, which was probably a good move on their part since it was starting to cost them. I never stopped reading though, I wasn’t always into anything beyond reading for classes, but reading is still very much something I do. At any given time I’m going through two books: one novel, and one book to learn from. The novel is usually fantasy, always fiction, anything from Memoirs of a Geisha to Game of Thrones. The second book is supposed to inspire, teach, and otherwise add to my life. Something like: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, Stuff Christians Like, or Quitter. I believe that any experience should either make me laugh or make me think, preferably both, but if it can’t do either, then what’s the point?
“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading,
you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”
With the rise of eReaders and the fact that I don’t carry a backpack around anymore, I have been reading novels electronically and get a paper copy for the other books. For the record, I prefer paper-books, however, I don’t want a huge book collection that I need to keep track of and move with me on my future adventures. eBooks are far more convenient, which makes it more likely that I’ll actually read, which surely is the whole point. Also, in electronic format, I don’t have people asking “What are you reading?” “What’s it about?” “Do you find my incessant questions distracting?” “Why are you walking away?” And I don’t feel embarrassed by the terrible cover art that plagues most fantasy and sci-fi books.
“Anyone who says they have only one life to live
must not know how to read a book.”
I’m currently reading Zoo City, set in Johannesburg and unlike anything else I’ve read, and The 48 Laws of Power, utilizing historical examples to illustrate the 48 Laws, it’s like a ‘how-to’ for The Game of Thrones. People say they don’t have time to read, but everyone gets 24 hours in a day. What we make time for in our already limited lives reveals our priorities and of course if it’s important to us, we’ll make time for it. I read because I always have, it expands my mind, changes my worldview, life goals, and perspective. Most crucially, if I didn’t read, I couldn’t watch a movie and say ‘the book was better.’
“Reading gives us someplace to go
when we have to stay where we are.”