Blog 981 – 05.01.2018
Where Will Your Reading Take You?
One of the most important treasures and legacies that my dad and mom left me was their love of reading. They both only completed the tenth grade of formal education but read so widely that they were far more knowledgeable and educated than they thought themselves. Much of that knowledge and education I got from them second hand but even far more from the love of reading that they inspired in me. I was as they say a “late bloomer” when it came to reading. Since for economic reasons, my folks could not afford to send me to kindergarten and also because my sixth birthday fell before the January cut off for kids starting first grade in 1956, I started school at five. And no, Smart A’s (Hey, and it is better to be a smart one than a dumb one) Moses was not in my first grade class. Where was I? Oh, yeah, because I started school at five and with no kindergarten experience I was a bit behind my classmates in several areas, math and reading in particular. Because I read so slowly and poorly I avoided it as much as possible and shamefully made it through twelve grades reading only one book, as I recall it, and that was Ivanhoe in ninth grade. I was home sick a couple of days with tonsillitis, had them out that next summer. Anyway the TV must have been on the blink or mom pressured me, “Isn’t there some school work you could be doing to help you not get so far behind while you are out sick?” I told you she was an educated woman.
At any rate I had carried home a school library copy of Ivanhoe. It was on the reading list for Mrs. Sorrells’ English Grammar and Literature class. And surprise, surprise, it was even better than the movie with the lovely Elizabeth Taylor, Jane Fontaine, and the handsome and the heroic Robert Taylor and George Sanders, and that was one great movie. I have found most great movies are made from even greater books. You just can’t tell most complete and wonderful tales in a two or even a four hour film. I first read Gone With The Wind in Vietnam in 1970. it was one of the first ten books I ever read through completely and I have read the book three times through since and I saw the movie almost as many times as my mom and she saw it at the movies every time they re-released it which used to be every couple of years before people could get a beta-max, VHS, DVD, Blue-Ray, or stream it as many times and as often as they like. It only dawned on me the last time I read it, all the subtle systemic racism there is in that book written in the nineteen thirties by a white southern woman, surprise, surprise, I must quote Gomer Pyle again, but not really. It is still a great read and as with all books I have learned to take in and accept what I can and leave the rest. There is good stuff in all of books even the poorest ones and crap in even the best sellers that you have to overlook or it will ruin the book for you. Some call that selective reading. I call it realistic reading.
When I find an author I really like, I try to read everything they have written till I begin to feel like I really know them. That is one of the best gifts that comes from a love of reading (Getting to really know new friends) and another is that you get to travel all around the globe, out in to the galaxy, and even to worlds beyond, created in the imaginations of writers. A good book is like a time machine it can take you any place in time and space and bring you safely back home again. I believe than anything we can create in our imagination we can bring to life in our reality. That is at the same time wonderful and scary, do you read me?
Your friend and fellow traveler,