Beckons the Printed Word

I have a reading problem. Perhaps you can help me with it. I blame my mother of course. She was a voracious reader (feasting on those 700+ page romance novels) and raised my brothers and I to be readers too. Thus newspapers and magazines; hard-covered tomes and soft-covered easy reads; coffee-table books and cookbooks; news feeds, emails, texts; my ever-present Kindle e-reader; even instruction manuals for God’s sake – vie for my reading time and attention. Books reach out to me with invisible hands, fluttering their crisp pages and silently screaming “READ ME!!!”.

56 - voracious

Once upon a time I had this under control.  You see, in those first childhood visits to the school library you could only check out one book at a time.  Read and return.  Read and return.  Eventually you earned the right to check out several at once.  Small piles of books began to accompany me home.

Newspapers already lived in my house.  My dad read the newspaper and nothing else, but in his day you had the morning paper and the evening paper.  Then one day I noticed Time and Sports Illustrated arrived every week in our mailbox.  More reading.  And the ever-present World Book Encyclopedia (WBE) flew off the shelf for the many school assignments that demanded it.  Here’s an early warning sign: sometimes I found myself leafing through the WBE for no reason at all.

Those innocent resources of yesteryear cemented the multi-tentacled reading monster that dwells in my house today.  Our family room is loaded with coffee table books and the complete works of Dickens (which I really need to finish someday).  Our kitchen cabinets are weighted down with ten cookbooks for every one that we actually use.  Our bedroom has a wall full of books we simply can’t bear to part with – kind of like the clothes you swear will come back into fashion someday.  Our nightstands have several put-you-to-sleep choices in their top drawers.  And our home office is so loaded I’ve resorted to “stack” instead of “display”.

It’s a delicate balance, this fanaticism for reading.  You have to limit your resources and then limit the time you give them.  Thus do I only subscribe to one magazine and one newspaper.  I follow 10-12 blogs and only those that publish weekly or less.  At any given time I’m only reading one book of fiction and another of non-fiction.  But beware that book of fiction.  If it’s really good, all other reading is kept at bay until I’ve consumed the very last page.  And then I have to scramble to catch up.

Amazon has created the ultimate temptation.  Not only can you purchase unlimited free “sample reads”, but you can subscribe to a dozen newsletters advertising new authors or popular reads or “we think you might like this” options.  It can turn into a feeding frenzy.

If there’s a rehab program to harness too much reading, I suggest the following as the first step.  Stay out of bookstores.  Keep battling the monster that has taken over your house instead.

Author: Dave

Three hundred posts would suggest I have something to say… This blog was born from a desire to elevate the English language, highlighting eloquent words from days gone by. The stories I share are snippets of life itself, and each comes with a bonus: a dusted-off word I hope you’ll go on to use more often. Read “Deutschland-ish Improvements” to learn about my backyard European wish list. Try “Slush Fun” for the throwback years of the 7-Eleven convenience store. Or drink in "Iced Coffee" to discover the plight of the rural French cafe. On the lighter side, read "Late Night Racquet Sports" for my adventures with our latest moth invasion. As Walt Whitman said, “That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.” Here then, my verse. Welcome to "Life In A Word".

3 thoughts on “Beckons the Printed Word”

  1. Good reading reminder! My brain is on overload. You made me look at all of the “piled up” reading I have sitting and WAITING for me to start, continue or finish on all kinds of subjects.. There are not enough hours in a day. Glad that when I take out an online book from the library, they immediately return it on the due date; otherwise, I would owe a lot in fines! Pros/cons to loving reading.


  2. I see no problem here! I embrace it, and joyfully collect books. I buy them faster than I can read them, but I tell myself that I’ll get around to them someday. And often I do. When I decide to read something different (usually after I’ve just finished a book, but sometimes when I’m in the middle of one and just need a change) I love to wander through my personal library and pull something off the shelf that I know that I’ll probably like (or I wouldn’t have bought it). As for the others that I haven’t gotten to yet, well, I’ll get to them someday. Until then, I’m content knowing that they’ll be sitting there patiently, waiting for me.

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