What Are You Reading?

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Whenever I’m immersed in a book I find myself thinking about the author’s ideas pretty much all the time. If it’s a work of fiction, then I think about the characters and their motivation, appearance, and surroundings. I wonder what the author is trying to teach the reader through the actions and speech of the protagonist and his or her cast of characters.

All that to say or ask: What do people who don’t read think about??? The weather? What they’re having for dinner? I think about those things too, but the ideas I get from reading top any and everything I could come up with on my own, not because I’m dull but because what goes into one’s mind is what she has to work with, and if nothing goes in, well, you know what I’m saying.

I recently overheard a conversation in which someone was saying that she hadn’t read but one book all the way through since graduating from high school and had started but not finished another.  What was especially interesting about this exchange is that the nonreader was belligerently blasting the other person who was trying to encourage her to read more.

“Why should I read just to have something to think about? I think all the time!” she said.

“Well, one of the books I just finished taught me about courage, about persevering against all odds,” her friend replied.

“B-O-R-I-N-G. Besides I don’t need a book to tell me that courage is important.”

“I know, I know. It’s just that now whenever I think about giving up on something I think about Deo who had to hide between corpses to stay alive during the genocide that took place in Burundi and Rwanda, and I realize what a wimp I am. His strong will helps me be strong.”

“Sounds depressing to me,” her nonreader friend replied.

“Yeah, it was depressing in places. But now I know more about those countries and the people who live there.”

“But why would you want to know those things?”

I piped up about that time and said that I too had read the book,  Strength in What Remains, and that it had enlarged my world view and gotten me out of my safe little comfort zone.

“I don’t want to think about things like that. I have enough on my mind.  I think all the time.”

I gave up the fight (that’s what it had turned into) and asked if anyone had made New Year’s resolutions. This morning I saw some statistics on Facebook that said 33 percent of people who graduate from high school never read another book the rest of their lives and that 42 percent of college grads never read another book after college. I’m not sure how accurate those stats are, but it was sad to read them.

This post is already too long, but I just have to say that books have enriched my life in more ways that I can count. What about you? Is there one book in particular that has influenced your thinking, feeling, or acting?

About jayne bowers

*married with children, stepchildren, grandchildren, in-laws, ex-laws, and a host of other family members and fabulous friends *semi-retired psychology instructor at two community colleges *writer
This entry was posted in books, personal choices, reading, tracy kidder and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to What Are You Reading?

  1. Pingback: What Are You Reading? | mom's musings

  2. I also love to read. The last two books I read are Heaven is for Real and No Easy Day.I read everything, the backs of cereal boxes, the back of the dog food bag, anything and everything that has words on it. I never know I just may learn something.Besides that I read a long time ago that the more you enrich your brain through life the lesser chance of getting Alzeimers when you get old.Who knows whether that is true or not but, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

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    • jayne bowers says:

      Thanks so much for reading and responding to this post. It’s always uplifting and comforting to find a kindred spirit. Isn’t Heaven is for Real about the little boy who visits heaven? I think it’s coming out as a movie soon…saw the previews. I haven’t heard of the other book but will look it up. About heaven, a year or so ago I read a book by Dr. Evan Alexander about his near death experiences. It’s called Proof of Heaven, and the reason I found it so credible is because he’s a doctor (neurosurgeon) with years of experience. I especially enjoyed reading the medical terms within the book. Oops. Didn’t mean to get carried away.

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