March 18, 2012

The Year I Started to Read Books
by Larry

I can’t claim that I’ve never read a single book, because I have. My earliest memories of reading are from elementary school when I read loads of Scholastic Book Club books. I remember being excited when the book catalog would come out, and I would go through and select a dozen or so books to purchase. I would create reading forts and spend hours upon hours in there reading things like Ralph and the Motorcycle, Encyclopedia Brown, Bunnicula, Wayside Stories from Wayside School, and The Finches Fabulous Furnace.

Book It!The prime motivation for reading during this time was Book IT! This is an awesome program which rewards reading with vouchers for a personal pan pizza at Pizza Hut. As a kid the idea of getting my own personal pizza, which today at my age is ridiculously small, was awesome–especially given my dad’s cooking.

Amiga 1000Then one day I discovered a magical device called the Amiga. Why read when I could be playing games, hundreds of games! Needless to say computers and video game consoles kept me busy for many years and got me out of the habit of reading.

Eventually I had to read books again. There was the required reading one has to do when in school. Titles like Call of the Wild, Where the Red Fern Grows, and To Kill a Mockingbird. Then there were the book reports where one gets to choose the book they want to read but is then forced to write about it. While many of these books I was forced to read were good, I wasn’t immersed in the story because I was focused on how to answer the homework questions. I suddenly found reading to be a punishment.

Fast forward to today: I’m 32, and as of a few months ago I could only recall maybe 10 books that I had read during my lifetime. Ninety percent of these were kids’ books, of which I have fond memories, particularly Roald Dahl. I have tried to read books many times over the years, but I have found the process very frustrating. I find holding books uncomfortable; I have a hard time tracking the lines with big blocks of text; and I am easily distracted, or I can read several pages without actually processing what I just read. So basically no matter how interesting the story is–the process of reading was frustrating and required too much work. So I just didn’t read.

Then I discovered a new magical device. App really. The Kindle App for my Android Phone. I don’t remember what motivated me to install this app and use it to try to read, but what most people dislike about reading on their phone turns out to be what makes it the perfect invention for me. It’s comfortable to hold, and the screen doesn’t display a lot of text, breaking up what traditionally is a huge block of text into a bite size readable chunk that I find much easier to process. Suddenly, the technology that lured me away from reading was luring me back.

In the past three months I have somehow managed to read 5 books. Crazy sauce! Going forward I will blog about my reading experiences as an adult suddenly discovering the joy of reading. The free personal size pizzas are gone, but there are 30 years of good reads to catch up with.

Up next my first read: It’s a classic.


posted under Commentary
8 Comments to

“The Year I Started to Read Books”

  1. On March 18th, 2012 at 11:40 pm docsmartypants Says:

    Oh, I remember those free-pizza reading programs! Those were the best.

    Welcome back to the world of reading for pleasure! There are so many great books in store for you, and I look forward to reading your reflections.

  2. On March 18th, 2012 at 11:45 pm Stacey Says:


    How have we never discussed Bunnicula? That is one of my all-time favorite books.

  3. On March 18th, 2012 at 11:50 pm Bea Says:

    I TOTALLY did that Book It reading program! I had so many reading hours, my teacher called my parents because she thought I was LYING about them. My mom explained to her that, yes, I really did read that much and frankly, it was kind of annoying (because I’d do things like read under the covers with a flashlight and then be super-cranky in the morning, or space on chores because I was reading). Heh.

    I have an actual Kindle and it SO makes reading easier. I mostly use it for giant books (like the A Song of Ice and Fire series, which are all, like, 900 pages long). It’s really nice to be able to carry it in my bag and ALWAYS have something to read.

    I’m glad you’re enjoying your reading adventure and can’t wait to hear your reviews!

  4. On March 19th, 2012 at 12:02 am Larry Says:

    I actually forgot it was called Book It, but Googling ‘Pizza Hut’ and ‘Reading’ quickly brought it all back to me. The site is kinda fascinating because they have a section dedicated to Book It alumni.

    And I don’t remember Bunniclua very well, but I know I read it at some-point, we shall discuss when you return in April!

  5. On March 19th, 2012 at 12:37 am docsmartypants Says:

    Bunnicula was such a great book. I read the whole series and also had some of them as audio books to listen to at bedtime. I hope children still read those stories.

  6. On March 19th, 2012 at 9:48 am Noel Says:

    Oh, how I loved the Scholastic Book Club…the day the catalog was distributed was always so exciting! I would pore over that thing for hours, trying to narrow my book selection down to a manageable number (alas, my father would/could not purchase ALL THE BOOKS for me every time, which is what I would have wanted. Poor me.).

    I am happy to hear you have found a way for reading to be enjoyable again! I look forward to your posts (and to a personal pan pizza in my near future)…

  7. On March 19th, 2012 at 11:09 am Stacey Says:

    My mother still gets the Scholastic order forms for her students, and I still go through them thinking of all the fantastic books I could buy.

    And yes, kids still read Bunnicula, but I think kids generally do not appreciate the BRILLIANCE of Bunnicula. Seriously, I loved that whole series so much. I loved Chester the cat. I vote for Buster to play Chester in the movie version.

    Book It still exists?? You have just rocked my world like Sam Tyler’s problem.

  8. On May 19th, 2012 at 1:02 am Sheri Says:

    I laughed out loud at the comment about Dad’s cooking — amazing you didn’t say anything about my cooking …

    But I am so very very pleased to hear you are enjoying reading now! It fills the heart of your librarian mother.

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