This was a Granny suggestion – Harry Potter suited her better.
I saw a note on Facebook this morning that went something like this: “I get sad every time I hear a person say ‘I don’t read.'” Saddens me, too. But I’m more interested in why they don’t like to read then trying to tell them what they are missing. I’ve been there, and it’s a waste of time. For many years in my early life, I didn’t enjoy reading. And no one could have convinced me that I was missing anything.
Way back then, they couldn’t correct my vision problems all that well, and reading was very difficult for me. In fact, once I outgrew the large print and short sentences in picture books, reading was a struggle. From the mid-grades on, I read what I had to in order to make good grades including the required number of book reports. But any extra reading was pretty much off my to-do list.
Mama thought I should read what she read, but a thirteen-year-old didn’t care that much for Agatha Christie or Earl Stanley Garner. Trying to figure out who done it didn’t appeal to me. I liked the romance Grandma read but Mama didn’t allow True Story, True Confession, or Modern Romance magazines in our house. Ah, but there was a way around that – the small store in town sold outdated magazines with the cover removed. Five cents each or three for a dime. My Saturday allowance would cover a small stack of magazines with a little left over for a sack of penny candy to enjoy while reading.
After few issues of romance slipped into my stack of movie magazines, and I discovered that story is king. When a story pulled me in, my vision seemed to improve, the reading struggle ended as the joy of reading became a reality.
Later on, I read The Cry and the Covenant, Marjorie Morningstar, Battle Cry, and On the Beach. None of these was on Mama’s approved reading list. And, they had little else in common except that soon after I started reading, I wanted to know what happened next. Once I discovered that some books would keep me reading through the wee hours, I loved reading. I had found books to love.
Back to those sad words. Maybe those who say, “I don’t read” will find on their own that they are missing out. Remember when readers discovered Harry Potter. Kids and adults who didn’t read before couldn’t wait for the next book to be released. And long before that, I stood in line at a bookstore behind a boy (I’d say he was about eight) with Clan of the Cave Bear in his hands. He looked at me and whispered, “This is the best book I ever read.” And, there was love in his eyes as he gazed back at his treasure. Now, I’m thinking he had borrowed his friend’s book and how he was getting his own copy. Back then, I couldn’t believe a boy that young could read well enough, or sit still long enough, to read Clan of the Cave Bear. It was this thick – 495 pages! But, I have to admit, I was right there with him, I couldn’t wait for the next Jean Auel release.
Reading is a completely different experience that watching TV, playing video games, or participating in sports. There is room for all these activities, and more, in everyone’s life. But if you don’t enjoy reading, it’s time you found a book to love. You are missing out!