Read any good books lately (or at all)?

If this guy can make time to read, anyone can.

Baby, baby, where did my love go?

Love of reading that is.  Everything is cool on the home front.

It has always been a point of pride for us when people came into our home and saw all the books that filled it.   Books in bookcases, books on shelves, books under the coffee table.   We subscribe to magazines and take the daily newspaper.  Everyone in the house has a library card, buys books,  and reads books.    We are a well-read bunch in the Winbush family.   Always have.  Always will.

It seems like it’s been  a while though since I’ve read for a  book for the fun of it.    I still read a lot, but it’s in bits and pieces of information in bites.   It’s like snacking.  You get something in your belly, but 30 minutes later you’re hungry for something more substantial.  

One of my personal failings is not reading like I used to.  I don’t seem to find the time to read for the sake of enjoying reading.    But that’s a weak excuse. Who doesn’t have a busy life?   If there’s no time to read it’s because that time is being spent doing other things.   Time isn’t found or lost.   It’s made and I must make  time to read.

And by reading I mean reading a book.  Not a doggone e-book and not on a Kindle or a Nook.  An honest-to-Johanes Gutenberg book.   Call me a Luddite but there’s still a sublime pleasure to actually holding a book in my hands that a hi-tech substitute doesn’t begin to compare to. 

With that thought in mind I am reading The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright. A few weeks ago, I was switching away from watching the San Francisco 49ers get the soup beaten out of them and chanced upon Wright’s one-man play/documentary “My Trip to Al Qaeda” playing on HBO.    A tidbit of  Wright’s storytelling abilities whetted my appetite and sent me to Barnes & Noble in search of the full course.

It measures up to the cliché: it really is a page turner  and  leaves you looking forward to picking it up and reading it to the end.    I throughly get why it earned rave reviews, best-seller status and a Pulitzer Prize as the ripe, red cherry on top.  There has been no shortage of books about 9/11, but  and has enriched my knowledge of why Osama bin Laden and his thugs want to kill us so badly (hint: it isn’t simply because they hate us for our freedoms, though it plays a key part in their rabid malevolence towards Western society). 

This is one of those books that is more than history, it’s prophecy.   Wright has written a work of non-fiction that reads like a devious mystery novel and detective story.  If I wore a hat I’d tip it to him.   

This is the kind of writing I aspire to.  Not so much to win fancy awards, though I wouldn’t turn it down.  Writing that makes an impact and leaves an impression.  This is the kind of writing that informs even while it entertains and puts the lie to misbeliefs previously believed to be true.

Could I write like that?  Maybe.  I’d like to think I could if I was willing to put the work in.    I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately about my writing.   It just might be one way to get out of it is by enjoying the writings of somebody else. 

 Good writers have to be good readers and  it’s time to get back to the  basics of putting the “fun” back in the fundamental of reading consistently and purposefully.  For goodness sake, I used to write book reviews for money.   How did things ever get to the point where I stopped reading for free?

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One thought on “Read any good books lately (or at all)?

  1. Thanks for this post. It truly saddens me that we are becoming such an illiterate culture. It seems to me that there has been a negative corelation between literacy rates (being able to read) and our level of knowledge (our desire to read for learning) in our nation’s history. Perhaps that is merely a perception – but I’ve taught high school and I know that children aren’t being taught to pursue active knowledge. But enough cynicism.

    I’ve made a concerted effort to read more as well. Here’s a couple of tricks I’ve picked up:
    – keep a book in the car. For instance, I go out to my car for my lunch break and read.
    – keep a book on the nightstand. Reading is an excellent way to unwind so I try to read some each night. However, there is the problem of drifting off…
    – take a class in something that interests you. When there are papers to write, discussions to participate in and a grade on the line – you find time to read. Also, it hones your research and conversation skills.

    However, like you I am an amatuer writer and it is much harder to sit down and actually write. I signed up for WordPress to do just that, yet my posts are few and far between. Writing takes consumes more mental energy than reading (though I endorse active reading). However, it is good to hear that other people have the same problem – though I really enjoy your prolific and thoughtful blogs. Good luck and hang in there.

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