Many of us have access to books, but how many of us are determined to read or to even get our hands on a book?
In the new age of technology, I have finally succumbed to reading e-books. No put down to e-books, but I never thought I would go this route. I do not have to wait for Amazon or some bookseller to ship it nor do I have to travel to the bookstore. It is downloaded to my Android immediately. But, the bottom line is, I am still reading.
There is never a point when I am not engaged in some book or literary piece. So, now that we have easy access to books, do we possess the determination to read them?
For years, some rural places did not have a library or a means of getting their hands on a book. Or some would wait anxiously for the weekly or in some cases, the monthly book carts to arrive to an area.
Confucius put it this way, “No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.”
I remember waiting for the bookmobile to come to our neighborhood as a child. It was an exciting time and I am still intrigued by those library districts that still invest in these large moving libraries. I was tweeting with a fellow educator-tweeter. She said that her students rarely read anything for pleasure in this high tech age. She found this troubling.
I am still reading The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin and there is so much substance in his writing, I feel like I should be taking notes. Well, actually, I am taking notes. He talked about how he decided to start cooking so he could save money on what they called “board.”
I quote, “and then proposed to my brother, that if he would give me, weekly, half the money he paid for my board, I would board myself. He instantly agreed to it and I presently found that I could save half what he paid me. This was additional funds for buying books.” (The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin).
Or, Desiderius Erasmus put it this way. “When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.”
How many of us think this way today?
Again, one of Franklin’s uncles left him a host of books and when he had read them all, he mentions his excitement about having access to someone else’s library. “I now had access to better books. An acquaintance with the apprentice of booksellers enabled me sometimes to borrow a small one which I was careful to return soon and clean.”
Isn’t that lovely? Here was a man who not only loved books, but he showed respect by handling them with great care.
Recently someone added a post to the bottom of some news story which was only told through video. It said, “I can read.” I agreed. Yes, I love pictures as most do, but please give me the option of reading the story as well as viewing it.
My point? Okay. We fought hard to have access to books whether a hard copy or an e-book? But are we reading? More importantly, what about our youth?
Harry S. Truman said, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.”
I think that the most succinct way to close this post is with a Mark Twain quote. “The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read.”
Lynn August 12, 2014