Today I am thankful for so many things! I'm thankful for the magic of reading.
I've always loved to read. One of the best and smartest thing my mom ever did for us, as kids, was take us to the Public Library on a near-weekly basis. I imagine it had a lot to do with the fact that we were poor growing up, and the library is a free way to entertain children for a couple of hours. I know my mom, herself, loves to read, too, but she couldn't have had much time to do so with 7 children to rear. Nonetheless, she always managed to take us to the library and let us check out several books each (at least 5--which multiplied by 7 children is 35 books/week!). That meant that come next Saturday morning, she'd have to go through the inevitable 2-hour process of us "finding" our books so we could return them and get new ones. Now, that's some serious dedication to develop a love for reading in your children!
I remember even as a teenager, loving to go to the library. During the summer time, we'd bring home high stacks of novels to read. One summer my goal was to read 100 novels. I surpassed my goal by at least 10 books! I often stayed up all night reading. Part of it was probably a mechanism of escape--things weren't always "rosy" in our home. But mostly, I've always loved to find out about different types of personalities and ideas. Reading offers that. Fiction, or non-- there are still so many things to learn about!
Of course, in my youth, I didn't recognize reading as a desire to "learn". Only now, much later, do I understand the principle. Reading has been such a developmental tool for me. I have seen studies that indicate reading enhances students' vocabulary, analytical skills, and even relationship skills. They say reading teaches one how to deduce. Deductive reasoning is a great skill to have in all different types of life situations: professionally, socially, or other.
I wouldn't say I necessarily have a "passion" for learning, as I might describe others as having. But, I would say that I have a love for learning. Some people have talked about how they can spend about 1/2 an hour on the internet and then they're done. They get bored. That always flabberghasts me. How could you be bored when you have a virtual world at your fingertips? With just a few key strokes, you can learn about ANYTHING! Often when I'm searching for a specific thing, I get sidetracked by other links that I come across. I have about 10 different "tabs" on my browser going at once because I've bookmarked so many things I want to come back to! I could sit at a computer all day every day, and still be fascinated!
But, don't get me wrong, I still love reading BOOKS. Nowadays they are selling "e-readers". These are handheld devices that are similar to cell phones. Their function is to store and "play back" up to 500 books in the palm of your hand. You can take them with you wherever you go. I think e-readers are a fabulous idea! I've long been a proponent and practicer of taking a book along with me in my purse wherever I go. Whether waiting for an appointment in the doctor's office or stuck in traffic, I find I am much happier if I have a good book to distract me. As for the e-reader, I'm not sure yet if this is a gadget I'd like to invest in. While, conceptually, I think it's brilliant, I'm unconvinced it would fulfill my needs. I love the FEEL of paper and book binding; the smell of freshly printed ink; the sound of pages turning. It's not just the story in the book I enjoy, it's the book itself. I don't think it would be as satisfying cuddling up in my bed with an e-reader as it would an actual book.
I'm thankful for my book club because it keeps me reading. It's easy to get so busy with our lives that reading falls out of our top priorities list. Book club not only keeps me reading, but challenges me to read things that I wouldn't normally pick out. I love that! I've learned so much about different cultures and people this year. I've also just had a lot of fun reading again! I even registered for a free online social networking site called goodreads.com. It lets you connect with other readers you know and share what you're reading, what you have read, and what you'd like to read (3 different "shelves".) If you know someone who seems to share similar taste in books, you can check out her bookshelves. That way, you might find books that she's read, that you'd like to read in the future (provided you ever finish the 6 or more books you're currently reading!)
I'm thankful for my mom teaching me at an early age about the magic of reading.