Cultivating a Lifelong Appreciation of Books
I’ve always been a book person. Not as avid of a reader as I would like, but a book person nonetheless. I’m sure it started when I was young. I remember one of the first thick hardcover books I read was Bambi. Not sure why, but it was in the family bookcase, so perhaps after seeing the Disney movie, I thought I’d check out the book version. Without the cartoon characters to soften the story line, it was a bit of a rude awakening. That, along with my later reading of Watership Down, about the even more perilous lives of rabbits, is likely part of the reason I am an animal lover to this day.
I also vaguely remember a very popular elementary school book program where, if we could get our parents to foot the bill, we could choose from a fairly extensive list of paperbacks. And what good parent could refuse their kids books, right? Weeks later, it was like a mini-Christmas when the books would arrive and get passed out at school. Sure, most of the books we bought could probably have been checked out of the library. But there was method to the madness because I invariably read every book I bought — undoubtedly a contributing factor to my lifelong interest in books.
Then in high school I remember stumbling upon J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy and, similar to the impact Harry Potter had on a later generation of kids, I became truly hooked on books. Not all books, of course. But for me, Tolkien truly opened up a realm of heretofore unimagined possibilities. To this day, I still marvel at the scope of the world he created.
After college, I recall becoming especially enamored with historical novels like Trinity by Leon Uris and Chesapeake by James A. Michener. Throw in a good spy novel here or there and a few Stephen King thrillers, The Shining in particular, and I was a pretty happy camper. And then . . . the kids came along, and the time to read suddenly became scarce. My book reading habits had to be shelved for a good 20 years or so, and I am just now beginning to make reading a priority again. I’m truly looking forward to gearing back up.
Apparently, I’m far from alone in my appreciation of a good book. And as you will see from our article on page 30, a growing number of readers like to share the experience with others through local book clubs. While I found several of the clubs’ book selections of interest, for me, reading is more of a solitary experience.
Having to discuss books with others would make reading less relaxing — more like school or work. That said, many of the clubs find creative ways to make the books come alive, and food and drink are often an integral part of the gatherings as well. So perhaps one day I will reconsider.
As you will see, there are a number of other great articles in this issue, as well. We hope you enjoy them and, as always, thanks for being a reader!Edit Module