The Power of Reading

Captain’s Log   4,448

I have all the books.  Now, I just need the boat.

I’ve always been one of those people who can read anywhere, and I always have reading material with me at all times.  Just in case I get stranded somewhere.  I don’t understand people who don’t read.  When I sit down in an airport and watch people just sitting there, I wonder about them.  I also wonder about people who just sit on a plane.  I know it isn’t my place to judge, but I cannot help but wonder how they can do that.  They must have deep inner lives that defy explanation.

I grew up surrounded by readers.  My grandmother, mother, and sister were all bookworms.  It’s what we did.  My mom brought home The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck when I was about nine years old.  I read it when she wasn’t looking.  I should say….I tried to read it.   It was the first grown-up book I ever tackled.  I read The Grapes of Wrath a few years later and was so smitten with the story that I cried for days.  That is the book that changed my life.  I became a filthy liberal hippie because of that book – and the discovery of Woody Guthrie several years later.

And that was the beginning of my social activism.  I learned about the world through books.  Books can take you anywhere.  Just over the weekend, books took me to Japan during WWII, to east Texas during the Depression, into the realm of Parkinson’s Disease with Michael J. Fox, and into Oval Office with an advance reader’s copy of my friend’s third novel.  None of that would have happened if I didn’t read.

Now, I have a Kindle.  It does not replace books at all, but it is an incredible way to store and transport books in a simple and uncomplicated way.   Plus, with all the free promotions, I am discovering really good writers I would have missed if I didn’t have this wonderful new toy.  I have enough stored on my Kindle now to last me an entire year.  Just in case traditional publishing stops forever, all the bookstores close, and libraries fall into the center of the earth.  Just in case.

Obviously, the people who come here are readers.  Many are also writers.  It’s hard to be a writer if you don’t read.  That’s like trying to be a good cook if you don’t eat.  It’s impossible.  You must live what you know and be what you live. Feel free to quote me on that.


Filed under Captain Poolie's observations

19 responses to “The Power of Reading

  1. Ah! Reading! Love love love! I’ve got three books going at this very minute! I don’t understand when I go into someone’s house and there is not a shelf, nor even a pile of books. What are they doing in their spare time? I’m so confused!

  2. ruffinbt

    Not reading would be worse than not breathing.
    (This is Paula G from Indiana, I couldn’t comment unless I had an account. Apparently gravatar is linked with google et al. Hopefully you can tell who I am by the photo!)

  3. Have you read “The Tortilla Curtain”? I never read “Grapes of Wrath” but Golfwidow said that they were comparable. Good book, so horrid that I’ll never reread it. I read it maybe ten years ago, and it still haunts me.

  4. Like you, I can’t fathom a world without reading (and writing). I don’t always carry a book these days because I am so pressed for time, but I do read at every opportunity. And when I don’t read, I write. I DO always carry a writing instrument and typically have paper tucked somewhere within reach.

  5. annanotbob

    Hell, yeah! I’ve never owned a bag that wasn’t big enough to hold a book – it’s always better to carry a book than need one and not have one. Steinbeck made a huge and lasting impact on me too. And this is amongst the most fascinating books I have ever read and I recommend it to you, Love xx

  6. I carry reading material with me all the time too, but I can’t read everywhere. (Among other things, I get vertigo from certain movements, as well as from removing my glasses constantly so I can see the schedule board.)

    Sometimes I watch people. Sometimes I close my eyes and compose a future post. If I do it well enough, it will write itself when I sit down at the keyboard.

    I am proud to say I brought up three readers. On a level with the joy of reading is the joy of teaching it to someone else.

  7. I agree so much. In fact, on my Pinterest ~ I have a board devoted just to quotes about reading and books. It’s such a thrill to find a book that “gets it” and draws the reader in. I mourn when favorite authors pass on….but usually I manage to find many more authors whose work I enjoy.

  8. John’s sister was also very moved by ‘The Grapes of Wrath’. She highly recommends ‘The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl’, by Timothy Egan . I just got it on Kindle/iPad for $3.99.

  9. What’s the East Texas book? My family settled in East Texas years ago, but I’ve never lived there. They’re all buried there, though.

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