The end of the word

I used to be an avid reader.

At a very early age, I learned to read and after that there was no stopping me.

I graduated through A.A. Milne through Enid Blyton [God forgive me] to the likes of Malcolm Saville, Arthur Ransome and a load of other authors whose names I have long forgotten but whose stories linger on.

My reading rate was somewhat phenomenal.  I could get through a book a day, so I used to need a large stash of reading material to keep me supplied.  In the end I just started reading the same books time and time again.  Of course I joined the library as soon as I could and I worked my way through their shelves like a rat through a drainpipe.

In later years the range of authors widened somewhat and it's a list too long to mention.

Then a few years ago, something happened.

To this day I don't know what it was.

It was like passing through a portal into another world.

I stopped reading.

There wasn't any significant event.  I wasn't thrown out of the library or anything.  It was a bit like Forrest Gump – I ran and I ran and I ran and then one day I stopped running.

That was around four or five years ago and I have read a mere handful of books since then.  I haven't been in the library since, and the librarian must be wondering where I went.  He knew me well and used to put books on one side if he thought I would enjoy them.  That pile must be quite big by now.

I started on "Black House" by Stephen King many months ago and I'm still less than half way through.  I have a feeling I may have read it before but what the hell….  I read a page or two at night and then fall asleep, and I have stopped reading during the day altogether. 

The only time I read now is on holidays and I have quite a pile ready and waiting.  The strange thing is that on a holiday, the old Reading Me returns with a vengeance and I can really lash through the books.  I only hope my stash is big enough, but there is an excellent bookshop in the local village, so no worries there.

Last year when I was down there I ran out of books and bought two new ones.  The first of the two, I read in a couple of days before the end of the holiday.

It took me about nine months to read the second one.

Weird.

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The end of the word — 16 Comments

  1. Here's a corker

    In PDF format and available to purchase in paper format on Amazon.

    200 pages of excellent holiday reading should you find yourself with ten minutes (given your impressive reading rate) of 'holiday boredom'.

    http://www.freeyourmindaz.com/uploads/1/2/8/3/12830241/the-most-dangerous-superstition-larken-rose-2011.pdf

    A quote among thousands worthy of repetition ad nauseam

    To be blunt, the belief in “authority” serves as a mental crutch for people seeking to
    escape the responsibility involved with being a thinking human being. It is an attempt to
    pass off the responsibility for decision-making to someone else – those claiming to be
    “authority.”

    • You're preaching to the converted again, Bill.  Hardly holiday reading?  Anyway I'm heading for the Wild West where "authority" is all but unknown.  One of the reasons I like the place!

      • I know. I hope you aren't offended, but there are visitors to these parts who might just get their eyes opened a bit by reading PDF's such as that one.

  2. I've noticed exactly the same trajectory of my reading to yours. Having gone from prolific to only a holiday reader, I'm convinced it's the internet which is behind it. I mostly read non-fiction so the web is a Godsend, and I've found I've learned huge amounts since it's been around – far more than if I'd carried on tearing through books at the pace I used to. 

     

    So all in all a good thing (yet I still can't pass a bookshop without going and,often, buying one – I have over a dozen for my next holiday) 

    • I have been giving it some thought and the Interweb did crop up as a possible reason.  Not all the reason though as I'm either busy doing something these days or sitting contemplating life and staring out the window.  It just never crosses my mind to pick up a book.  Possibly one of the reasons is that my supply became more difficult.  I used to live fairly close to an excellent second-hand bookshop and to two libraries, but now the nearest [decent] library is about five miles away.  So I probably can just put it down to laziness?

  3. I went the same way as you Grandad. However my kids gave me a Kindle for Christmas a couple of years ago.

    The beauty of the kindle is that once you have read a book on it there are suggestions of other books you might like in the same vein, complete with readers views.

    Then again there is also price. I've read some cracking books that are marketed at an eye  watering price of 99p.

    • The jury is out on the Kindle.  I'm a bit of a traditionalist in that I like the feel of the paper [and the smell, if it's new].  I have an inherent distrust of a piece of plastic, no matter how much they try and make it like the real thing, with flicky corners and all that.  It's one of those things I would like to try before buying.  The only problem is that I don't know anyone who has one!

      • I have one. An older second generation model, the one with the keyboard at the bottom of the 7" E-ink screen. It holds the entire "Discworld" collection by Terry Pratchett, a couple-three self published eBooks and a few Jules Verne and Mark Twain novels. And there's room for lot's more. My wife got it for me a few birthdays ago and it's come in real handy as my book collection along with hers was threatening us with eviction if we took up more than two rooms for ourselves.

        Besides, since I seem to end up in the hospital every couple of years or so, it beats lugging a couple boxes of books along with me. Personally, I love the thing but as an old tech-head it still makes me a bit uncomfortable knowing that it solely depends on so-called "civilization" in order to keep working. Traditional books don't depend only on the readers.

  4. You were so culturally nourished in childhood GD, reading A.A.Milne & Enid Blyton. I was never ever given a title by them in my Christmas stocking. Not until going up to university did I hear summaries of the Christopher Robin episodes, when a female classmate used to regale me and her friends with long memorised chunks in the canteen over cups of sloppy instant coffee. (She started going out with a Philosophy major, so I never got to dance with her in the Olympic Ballroom on Saturday nights.) If you want to get back to the wholesome habit of reading hard copy why not make a nostalgic return to Blyton and Milne? Ask the grandchildren to give you a lenda them. But I recommend as a reintro to the printed word that you take to reading Ireland's Own weekly magazine for all the family. Here is a subtle joke from a back issue I have under my Chinese coffee table: 

    " Women are divided into two main classes – those who don't believe everything their husbands tell them –  and those who have no husbands! "  [Ireland's Own, February 21, 2014 p.62] You could read out things like that to Herself to test your diction and lectionary skills. Then you might graduate towards reading fullblown adult books, like the autobiography My Life and Loves by Frank Harris, or Persuasion by J. Austen.

    • One of the very first books I remember getting as a present was "The House on Pooh Corner".  Great book!  In a moment of clarity and rashness I chucked my entire book collection in a skip many years ago as it was taking up too much room in the house.  One I did keep was Enid Blyton's "The Castle of Adventure".  It was saved purely for mercenary reasons – first edition, signed by the author, given to my sister and purloined by Yours Truly.  I have no intention of reading it again – I still remember just about every word!  If anyone else wants the pleasure I just found it on-line.  Heh!

      Told your "joke" to Herself.  Got a polite Humpf.  Not impressed, I gather……

  5. I've nearly given up reading as well and was thinking about it the other day. Then i realised that I had just watched 2 episodes of the Good Wife and realised that what I was basically just after doing was reading another two chapter of a book.

    BTW, you left out Biggles and William from your booklist

    • Welcome Murt10!  Indeed, I did leave those two out but not because they weren't in my collection [they were] but if I listed the lot I would be here all day!

    • Maybe it's something they're putting in the water?  They're certainly putting something in it – it tastes like shit.

  6. I was exactly the same, devoured books and haunted the library. I think I can date my lack of interest from when I started on the computer and began writing to a lot of people and reading online. I have just returned from Canada and read a book on both my flights. I had quite forgotten how enjoyable it was and will try to start reading again, I have bought several in the past few years but not got round to reading them yet.

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