A World Of Readers, Thinkers, And Sleuths

“Let your mind wander through time and space, and follow its trail with curious grace.”

With regards to reading books, I’ve gone through several phases in my life. I enjoyed them as a young kid, then hated them in middle school, and was swamped by them in high school. I read mostly magazines and equations in college. But in grad school, I learned to find time for books outside of class and homework, and began understanding them more clearly. And now, well, I don’t really have a definition for it… but I’ll try.

I love books. I absolutely love books and I think they love me. Old books, new books, bright books, dusty books, hardcovers, paperbacks, biographies, picture books, ones with funky-looking text, ones with big characters, cookbooks, humorous musings, philosophical contemplations, new takes on old theories, old takes on novel wonders, manuscripts, adventures, essays, creative ramblings, confessions, ones with good names, and especially the nameless ones. There are so many books to love, and I love them all. I love that I can love them all. They are there for me when I want them and there for me when I don’t want them. I can read when I’m happy, read when I’m sad, read when I’m puzzled, or read when I’m mad. I don’t have a deadline for a book and I’m not tested when I’m done with it. I can pick it up when I want, and can forget about it if I want to do that too.

The book store is one of my favorite places. I really can’t believe how many books have been written. These are the words and thoughts of people from all over the world, on all types of topics, in a sometimes-organized-often-disorganized effort to better understand our world. These are the words of the millions of deceased – those that saw what I could not see – and willingly tried to explain it to a world of readers with whom they have no acquaintance.

It’s also funny that book stores are categorized, because the case can be made to fit any book under a thousand headings. That being said, I’m always surprised at how well most authors can maintain the scope and focus of a single book. I find my mind wandering constantly and, as a result, feel that this is the natural way for me to write and express my thoughts and feelings. Scope and focus are nice if and only if scope and focus are how you feel you can best express your thoughts and feelings to the world.

With that in mind, let me express a small array of thoughts:

1. Books, and literacy in general, provide a channel through which we all can better understand the world in which we live.

2. Reading and embracing books at a young age (including picture books) fosters creativity, analytical thinking, and a drive for discovery and understanding.

3. No book is a bad book, and everyone is an author. We all have something to say, and everything said is worth a read.

4. Writing and reading enables self-realization coupled with the ability to wear other people’s shoes. Books connect and network our planet – the living, the dead, and the unborn.

Lastly, I want to quickly describe a couple web resources that help organize that which we read while making it a most economical endeavor. Aside from all the free content I can get from the web, these are a few of the mechanisms I use to discover, monitor, research, and purchase books:

  • Amazon – I use the built-in “Wish List” feature to maintain a collection of every book in which I’ve had some interest in purchasing or researching more. The Amazon iPhone app is also great – for adding books to the wish list and even purchasing books within a few clicks. I’ll usually walk around the book store, find a title I like, read the front/back covers, flip through a few pages, then look it up right away on the Amazon iPhone app, read some reviews, and either add it to my wish list or immediately purchase a used copy (for around 1-50% of the in-store/new price). Amazon itself is also a fantastic place to find similar books, related but higher-rated books, or books on any other random topic in which you might have a short- or long-term interest.
  • Google Books – I use a lot of Google products because I like having many dimensions of my life synced in the cloud under my one Google profile. Google Books is another one of these and is where I keep track of what I’ve read, what I’m reading, and what I want to read. I can read reviews (including those from Amazon), write reviews, add personal notes, and even read excerpts (if not all) of the book online. A very nice online, personal library.

That’s about it for now. Love books. Read books. Write in your books. Share them with others. Talk about your books. Recommend your favorites. Have fun with them!

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5 thoughts on “A World Of Readers, Thinkers, And Sleuths

  1. I adore this post. You have perfectly captured how I feel about books as well. Do you get a little light headed when you walk into a library too? Like, oh my goodness, the POSSIBILITIES.

    I wonder what makes some kids fall head over heels in love with books, and others so thoroughly resist reading – even before they get to the “mandatory reading” stage of school. And I wonder how often people who didn’t love to read as kids grow to love it as adults?

    You have me thinking, KB. Another good post.

    1. Good stuff Meg! It’s funny how to some the library or book store might be the most intimidating place in the world, but if you just think that you have a lifetime to browse books and take it shelf by shelf, book by book, they’re the most inviting and awesome places in the world!!!

      Now the topic of when certain kids begin liking books is a wild topic. It’s weird looking back at when I liked books, when I didn’t and trying to figure out why I did or did not like books at any moment. For one, I learned that not having time is not a reason to dislike books. On that same “page”, having mandatory readings is not a reason to dislike reading either. It’s just about adjusting your mind to whatever is on the page, and understanding why it’s there and why you’re reading it, that can ease the stress of mandatory reading.

      I too wonder how many people grow to love reading as an adult, and what factors might influence the outcome in a positive and/or negative way? Did you always love reading?

      I also wish pets could write books. Those would be fun to read. What would Buddy write about? I think my fish would just drool all over the page.

      We should collaborate on these questions.

  2. OH my gosh, Buddy’s book would probably make me realize he needs a benzo prescription stat. Although I’d love to know what his life was like before we rescued him. Hmm, judging by Lil Santino’s twitter stream, he might have a few things to say. It’d be tough to keep the paper dry though.

    My husband hated reading growing up – and it wasn’t until high school or college that he realized he needed glasses. I’ve always thought that those two were probably connected. (And he seems to enjoy reading now, although most of his are “have to read” books – very rarely does he get to read for fun.)

    All my siblings loved reading, but I was the most voracious reader of all of us. (I had a great idea when I was about 12 to systemically read every book in the YA section of the library. I’m not sure I got through the A’s… but I tried.) I also know my parents read to us a lot – wondering if that influences when kids learn to read / love to read? I’m sure that’s a basic question that’s been answered by the education experts of the world. Was reading a big part of your childhood?

    BTW, I asked Google… there are 168 million (give or take) books in the world that G. has counted. Isn’t that crazy? It’s hard to believe there’s always something new to be said, or a different way to say it. (This kind of makes me nervous. I won’t focus on this fact for too long.)

    I wish I had had that mindset about mandatory reading in college. There’s so many of my college books I think I’d probably read for fun now!

    I think this pretty much seals the deal on our nerdy status, by the way.

    1. Haha maybe we’ll let the pets just keep on doing what they’re doing and leave the writing and reading to humans. (On that note, I did see this book “Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know” in B&N today – will you read it?).

      That glasses aspect is interesting – I wonder what data is out there. I wonder what data is out there connecting the scope of books read to occupation too. We all need good doctors so I’m glad @deacdoc does his mandatory readings! 🙂

      I didn’t have a lot of my own initiative to read outside of what was given me or what I found through school when I was a kid, but I did enjoy reading and especially being read to by my grandparents. You and Christine seem pretty similar in your wild reading habits at a young age – probably the reason you said “voracious” and I had no clue what that meant other than through context!

  3. Haha, between the books & taking Latin in high school, I definitely rocked the vocab section of the GRE! Woop!

    YES, the inside a dog book is on my reading list! (I think it’s on my resolutions post? If not, I need to add it.) I read a few pages standing in B&N but didn’t let myself buy it yet, til I finish my other ones.

    I’m sure there’s something with reading / occupation, or probably preceding that, reading skills/interest with education choices (majors in college, etc.) Then again, it seemed like every major at Wake involved a lot of reading.

    I have a feeling you could spend the next few hours of googling to see what data is out there to answer those questions. I guess that’s what makes you the adsideologist! 🙂

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