Books have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. It’s another one of those things that was just there in my life that I took for granted as a kid. Like heat and hot water. But books and reading have influenced my life more than any other material object or activity. I love tv but I wasn’t allowed a tv in my bedroom until I was in, oh I don’t know, college? So my only option for staying up late for a large portion of my life was reading. And I never really minded that. I love music, too, but I can listen to music while doing other things, and for me, music is a lot like reading, with the lyrics and the melodies and so forth. Reading more than anything enhanced my imagination and helped shape my world view, and even helped shape how I view myself. Reading let’s you explore other people’s minds, and it makes you put yourself into that person’s thoughts. It’s like Being John Malkovich, you are actually in my head as I write this, you are just in the future. So it’s like a Back to the Future situation, or actually more like a Quantum Leap situation, except you can’t do anything to change what’s happening. Wow. My brain leaked out of my ear there for a second. And I’m listening to Bonono Live Sessions right now. Mind= Blown. (I realize I just made an analogy for reading using examples from tv and movies, but we live in the image culture and tv and movies are simply more relatable to a wider audience...and I'm not above selling out. Besides, I really feel that my early appreciation for reading allows me to recognize and appreciate the connections between various art forms.)
If I didn’t stress it enough before, I was literally forced to read starting at an early age. And I think it’s necessary. I mean, I just played Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood from 830 pm to 230am, just because I could. And that’s what I would have been doing when I was younger if I had the opportunity. Video games are instant gratification (a lot of it…that game is sick) and much more immediately stimulating than a book. Of course a kid is gonna choose that over books. But I was forced to read to the point where I enjoyed it and did it (do it) even when I could have been watching tv or playing video games. There are some people who would never or could never become big “readers”, but I think if more people were exposed to reading at an early age, they’d be more inclined, and able, to read.
And I think any kind of reading is great (not Twilight, that actually makes you less of a human being) whether it be novels, short stories, newspapers, magazines, or yes, even the internet. The internet is all reading…except for all the porn. But you know what I mean, you have to read stuff to know what’s going on and to find anything. Some people are concerned that the internet is hurting literacy…there are more people in the world who can read right now, total and per capita, than ever before in the history of humankind, and it’s because of the internet. Yes, it’s not doing anything for proper grammar, but it’s helping more people communicate than ever before. That’s a good thing. It should be highly supervised with young kids, obviously, but the internet is definitely beneficial to learning. And e-readers…how can anyone argue against those? 2,000 books in the palm of your hand! I held out on ipods for a while (I held out on cds for so long I wasn’t about to just give them up) but when I got one it changed my life. I haven’t gotten an e-reader for the simple fact that I don’t have enough time to read many novels during the semesters I teach (I teach all of them except winter). But when I do, or if I could use it for work, I would in a second. I use my smart phone all the time to read articles online or read my favorite blog. I like the feel of books, and I would still read some novels in book form, but it’s not really about the paper, it’s about the words, and the best words illuminate the truth in life no matter what medium is used.
I Love You All…Class Dismissed.