Top Ten Tuesday: A Reader’s Manifesto

Today’s top ten Tuesday is more of an invitation to reflect —  Jana asks us why we like to read. 

For me, that answer begins with my parents – not only were my siblings and I feted with books growing up, but our parents read to us when we were younger, and we had a family practice of sitting around reading together – my dad with his Louis Lamour, my mom and her Christian romances, my  sisters with Sweet Valley High and Fear Street, and me with…seemingly everything. I even raided my family’s collection,   save for my mom’s Danielle Steele.    

Reading was my chief entertainment:  my parents dropped television from our home in the early eighties, before I was born, and so I grew up either running around the woods,  playing outside, or reading.  I didn’t experience the rival distraction of video games until I received a GameBoy  around fifth grade,  so my childhood was marked by weekly visits to the library and piles of books read. 

In eighth grade my parents bought a computer, and it would slowly grow to dominate my time as I discovered the joys of Encarta Encyclopedia,  the internet, and PC games.  Even so, though, I remained a reader,  though mostly of histories and Star Trek novels.  I couldn’t watch Star Trek (at least until after we had a television during the last seasons of Deep Space Nine),  but I devoured its novels – and scripts, because  I bought two CDs that had all of the scripts for DS9 and TNG on them, as well as the preview trailers for each episode that aired. My Trek experience was uniquely literary: I sometimes ‘remember’ scenes from episodes that never happened, because I saw them only in my head. 

In the early 2000s, I finished high school and community college, and worked in a factory to save money for college.  My appetite for learning only grew after school, and I fed it with podcasts (then the hot new thing)  and piles of books. History, science, economics, philosophy — whatever I could find. In 2007 I started posting about what I was reading on MySpace  — a habit which has grown into ReadingFreely.  If I offer anything I’d like to think it’s the chaotic variety in the end of year pile!

Reading continued to be a crucial part of my life even once I resumed my formal education, and afterward:  I’ve been  out of academia for eleven years, with no plans on returning given the risible  disparity between tuition and value-for-money in the humanities, and were it not for the constant stimulation  and companionship of books (for the right kind invite an author into one’s head for a debate of sorts), I’d  go nuts.  Books, for me, are vital to not only learning about the world, but engaging  with it; they continue to feed my growth as a person. 

When  I die, my epitaph will say: “BUT I WASN’T DONE READING!” 

About smellincoffee

Citizen, librarian, reader with a boundless wonder for the world and a curiosity about all the beings inside it.
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7 Responses to Top Ten Tuesday: A Reader’s Manifesto

  1. Marian says:

    Imaginary Star Trek episodes! That made me chuckle.
    It’s fun that your family was into reading, even though it’s a different interest for each person. Mine is the same way – everyone found their niche and pretty much sticks to it. 😀

    • My mom migrated to Amish romances, and my dad once tried a John Grisham novel, but yep…they’re still reading the same stuff as they did thirty years ago. Ditto for sisters — romances and thrillers, but now the books are larger. Did you read classics as a kid? (I read a few from the Great Illustrated series – -that was my intro to a few, from Call of the Wild to Hunchback..)

      • Marian says:

        Ohh yes! I remembered just now… one of the earliest was The Pilgrim’s Progress, a “modern English” version we found at the homeschool convention. I was really into spooky fairy tales and myths, so that was right up my alley. 😀

  2. Cyberkitten says:

    I finished full-time education in 1986 when I got my (largely government funded) BA. I always missed those 3 years and wanted to go back for more, which I did in 2006 to do a part-time MA (self funded this time) and then again in 2010 to do yet another part-time MA (again self funded). As I was in full-time employment at the time I could afford them both reasonably easily (the 2nd one wasn’t much of an issue as my earnings had grown faster than the fees by then plus I had quite a bit saved by then). Given the opportunity I’d certainly go back for a 3rd MA just for the heck of it…. [grin] But in the mean time I guess that books will have to suffice [lol].

    • I miss the stimulation, but my god would the atmosphere be unbearable these days. I’d feel more at home in a biker gang. :p

      • Cyberkitten says:

        Ten years ago it was fine. Certainly none of what you see/hear about these days. I don’t think the ‘political’ situation in the Universities here is as bad as it seems in the US though – but I can only go by what I read in the press and see on YouTube. I checked my ‘local’ Uni last night and they’re not doing anything I’m particularly interested in, plus the fees seem way higher than I remember! I think I’ll stick to books for now.

  3. Wonderful evocation of your reading life, I especially liked the picture of Phantoms of the Brain. Keep your chaotic variety of reading coming my way.

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