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Ex 1: Of Books and Me...

Most people generally think that books are the foundation of any English major’s life. In my personal experience this is not the case by a long shot. I don’t seek solace or comfort in books, nor do I choose to read them on a leisurely basis. My interest in books has changed drastically over the past 15 years as I have matured as well as learned about the harsh realities of time constraints. At this point in my life it is not a matter of carrying around a harbored disdain for books. It seems to be more about making a time management oriented choice. Rather than read a book I consciously choose to watch a television show or movie that will consume hours of my life rather than the days and even weeks that a book could take away from me.

I wasn’t always such an opponent of the book as a means of time passing enjoyment. When I was five years old I learned how to read by watching the show Sesame Street. At this point in my existence I couldn’t put a book down to save my life. I was a reading machine and couldn’t be stopped. Looking back I realize now that this may have also been an indicator that in later years I would rather learn by watching television than by reading books. Reading was necessary to function in the world and therefore I learned how to read. It was just never set in stone that if you read than you automatically had to read books. I am a product of a generation that has relied on digital entertainment and learning tools from the beginning.

In my childhood I was exposed to books in a multitude of facets. My parents would take me to the public library regularly and weekly inter-school library trips were also a mandated part of my elementary education. Part of elementary school that I fondly remember was an event known as the book fair. This was a week that the school would bring in an outside vendor to sell books, poster, and other school supplies to students. I spent countless hours and my parent’s dollars at the book fair. In middle school the book fair was not popular and they rarely hosted them. I can distinctively remember owning all the Animorphs and Goosebumps books that I could get my little hands on. There was not an R.L Stein book that I hadn’t read twice by the time I was in seventh grade. Of course once the Goosebumps television show was released on FOX in the early 90s I was glued to it every Saturday morning. During my middle school years I also had the opportunity to read the classics like To Kill a Mockingbird and Lord of the Flies. I recall enjoying each of these books thoroughly, but never really having the desire to read them over again when I was done.

It was in high school that I believe my relationship with books was drawing near a fatal end. As a requirement for all advanced English classes we had to read all of the classic academic texts such as The Odyssey, Romeo and Juliet. The issue was not reading the actual texts, but rather finding the time in my newly filled high school schedule. At this time I became highly involved in extracurricular activities that included the dramatic arts, soccer, basketball and lacrosse. Most of the time after practice at night it was a struggle to manage all of my school work. I will say that my newly acquired awareness of both community theatre and school dramatic arts also brought forth a new interest in play reading.

For the most part the passion that I once had for books had fizzled out in high school and so had my energy to actually read them. I don’t think that I grew out of books, but rather away from them at this point in my life. As I went on to college I seldom read books unless it was a required text for the class and I have kept in the rhythm ever since. A lot of it has to do with the fact that I am still as highly involved with extracurricular activities now as I was in high school. I have also adapted to this digitally driven visual culture that leads to my preference for movies and television shows rather than books. I am not sure if I will ever pick up a book for leisure again in my life or if that was some sort of innocence lost upon reaching adulthood. Perhaps someday when I have a little more time on my hands I will give books a try once again.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 28, 2008 10:03 PM.

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