Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Summer Reading...

Since I've had the summer off due to an injury, I've had more than enough time to read. I usually go to the Library (that great Socialist Institution) and take out a dozen books or so. I read them, peruse, enjoy them--and then in a few weeks, go back and get 20 more.
I wasn't always a reader. When I started school, I had no idea what a letter was. No clue whatsoever. Reading was not a part of my family's background. In First Grade, I started in the slow reading group. It just turned out that I had never been introduced to letters or reading. Once the teacher told my Mom to read to me, I moved along just fine and caught up to my peers. I graduated to the First Reading Group within a few months!
It was about Third Grade that I really started to enjoy reading. I would read every night before bed, staying up much too late upsetting my parents.  Nobody chose books for me. I read Tom Sawyer over and over again. To this day, I think Tom Sawyer is a better book than Huck Finn (yes, I know---I'm in the minority in that opinion). I loved the town library where you could go in and see row after row of crammed books in the shelves.
My brother would bring me home books, trying to influence my mind. Most of them were religious in nature. Some even worth reading. The anti-evolution books were a bit much though. And the books on the supposed location of Noah's Ark on Mount Ararat, thus proving Noah's flood---they were always just on the verge of finding that elusive Ark.
All through High School I read. It continued in college. Usually I just read haphazardly without form or intention. There were things I just didn't like. Poetry, for instance. And Shakespeare. Or anything by an English author prior to the year 1900. Being a Philosophy major, I read all the great Philosophers from Plato to Spinoza. Bertrand Russell was my favorite; Martin Buber sucked.
Years when I had to have a career, I didn't read so much, with the exception of some metaphysical works and just about everything put out by the Jesus Seminar. Crossan became my favorite and I still like to pull out his Jesus a Revolutionary Biography during Christmas and Lent.
After 20 years of being a Psychiatric Nurse, I lost my ability to enjoy fiction. I hear too many stores and I tire of listening, or reading, drama. I rarely read that now. I read mostly essays and nature books. Along with books on political economy. My reading is varied, but I remain mostly on the Left Side of the Ledger, with the exception that I think Noam Chomsky is a bore.
Edward Abbey is my all time favorite. I've read everything he has written with the exception of his first novel that is very rare and hard to find. I love it when I discover a new author who is good and I generally read their whole catalogue in quick procession. Currently I'm making my way through Hunter Thompson's works: the verdict is out on him.
Book stores excite me; libraries excite me. Good writing excites me. Nature excites me.
I have long believed that a person should read a little everyday, write a little everyday and walk a little everyday. When I do that, my appreciation of life is at its best.

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