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Thursday, January 11, 2007
Reading Is Fun-To-Mental
Just sit right back and I'll tell you the tale of how I lost my love of reading.
Yes, it is oxymoronic for me to not love reading while writing a post that others have to read (and hopefully love reading). Nevertheless, it's true and it's not my fault. Blame our education system.
When I was a child, my parents worked very hard to foster the love of reading in me. They subscribed me to Weekly Reader (does that still exist?) and I received a new book every week. I enjoyed watching my bookshelf slowly but surely fill up, and I was proud to say I had read them all. I was reading more and more complicated texts and soon found I had a love for sci-fi and fantasy. By 8th grade I was into Isaac Asimov and I was about to read all 7 books of the Chronicles of Narnia (until I accidentally left them at an airport gate while travelling.) :-(
Then it happened. High School.
Hey. Isn't high school supposed to be, well, you know higher school? Isn't my love for learning supposed to be fostered, pruned, cultivated, and increased here? But like all of you know, high school ain't about growth. It's about . . .
Here are some examples of how my love of reading was murdered in the first degree.
Year 1 - English class - Learn 10 new vocabulary words a week, get quizzed every week and watch your self-esteem sink as you watch grades like 7/10 and 6/10 make you feel as tall as a midget smurf. Oh, and when you get a term paper back, there's so much red ink, you think Jesus wrote it. (That's a Bible joke. You see, in most Bible printings, when Jesus speaks, they use red typeface . . . oh whatever - Find one and see what I mean. Joke's over.)
Year 2 - Biology class - Read Chapter 6 and fail a pop quiz because you can't remember what a Herko-chinio-mate-ophalus-o-sitis is.
Year 3 - Economics - Have you ever read about economics? No need for a joke here. You should be laughing by now.
Year 4 - English Again - So many books and so many papers, highlighted by an 8-week period where we had to write 8-page papers every week about a different poem. Mind you, this was before the invention of word processing. Not a lot of fun. It's all a blur.
And then I get to college and take an English course to restore my love of reading, where I had to read a book a week for a semester. Mission accomplised - no more casual reading for me. Now that I was a music major, I didn't really have time to anyway, right?
I literally went 6 years without reading a book. What a tragedy.
Then my wife, Fadie, who at the time was just my girlfriend bought me a gift - the Chronicles of Narnia. And at the age of 24 I proceeded to read the entire series, little by little. Since then, I read a casual book twice a year - which I understand is outrageously little, but at least I enjoy it.
So, protect yourself and your children. High School for me was actually great. I love my education. But I wasn't looking, and didn't see that there are some things lost in the process of becoming an adult - like some of the fun you had as a child.