Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Thankful for Books as a Bookhead
In the past I have mentioned that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. For me it is not the food that comes foremost in my mind. Even though I enjoy the turkey, my wife’s garlic ranch mashed potatoes and pie. The importance of being thankful is what has been most important in my thinking of the holiday. This year with one goal of finishing my book on reading (which is a goal I am still struggling with), I thought I should share why as a Bookhead, I am thankful for books and reading. I see reading as an important way to impact changes in the mind which of course affects our living. That is the aim is Living More Than OK -- the title of my blog. A reminder of continual growth on our life journey.
Dr. Edmond Huey in the book, The Psychology and Pedagogy of Reading (1915), speaks of the unique development of reading through history. His research revealed how in the study of the eyes of those reading, it is not a natural aspect of human development. Early humankind passed information through oral tradition and storytelling. Reading takes work and effort and had to be taught and developed. As reading became habit new thought patterns developed. He mentions “ Among early peoples the mystery of reading naturally , led to reverence for the printed word and book and for reading and the reader. Reading became a holy office, performed by individuals who possessed divine powers, and the book became a fetish.” (Huey. p. 2). Reading was for a selected few until the invention of the printing press. Huey describes a wonder filled description of reading, to him it is “a wonderful process by which our thoughts and thought-wanderings to the finest shades of detail, the play of our inmost feelings and desires and will, the subtle image of the innermost that we are, are reflected from us to another soul who reads us through our book. (p. 6). What a powerful picture of the importance of reading and books. The thought that comes to my mind is of students I have had who are reading books that had movies made from them. Most of the time the student would tell me the book was better as there were more details in the book. That is what Huey is getting at with the phrase, “… finest shades of detail….”.
It is the power of reading I find in Dr. Huey’s research on reading that makes me thankful that my mother when I was young had me be involved in the Summer reading programs at my hometown library in Barberton, Ohio. I am also thankful my third grade teacher, Verna Clifford, read to us regularly in class, which helped fan the flames of enjoying reading. Books have been companions and advisors in my life over the years. Through times of depression when I secluded myself in my apartment in Chicago, it was books that would impact my mind back to reality. It was through books such as the Bible, the works of C.S. Lewis, Dr. Victor Frankl, Dr. William Glasser and others that helped me. So I have many reasons to be thankful for books and reading.
I have also been thankful for those who promote reading and books. Recently the author, James Patterson has had an emphasis on saving books that I would encourage all readers to be a part of. Underneath the reflection I have a link to his salon.com column where he is interviewed on his call to arms to promote reading and books. I wish more authors would join him in this. He rightly points out that our culture by moving away from reading is dumbing down. I have had some students at the college who are honest with me on the topic of reading. They have shared that they see the rise in just watching videos and video gaming is making their minds lazy so they don’t want to do the hard work of reading college level material. What I like about the Patterson interview, and I do hope you will click on the link and take the few minutes to read it, as he is saying we can reverse the trend. He speaks as well how fewer people go to bookstores and how there are fewer bookstores in the country which I also believe effects the lower emphasis on reading in society.
With Christmas nearing I would encourage you to bypass doing your book buying on Amazon. How about going to a bookstore in your area? Go to a Barnes & Noble, or another bookstore of choice. Here is Texas they have Hastings and some towns still have independent bookstores. Some people like Half Price bookstores. Go in and touch the books and flip through the books. There is nothing more personal than a gift of a book that has been chosen particularly for that individual on your gift list. Then of course get a book for yourself.
The day after I thought of writing about being thankful for books and reading, I came across on the Barnes and Noble book blog a post about being thankful for books by Ginni Chen. I list the link under the reflection. Do take the time to read her blogpost as it is an enjoyable read that will make you think of why you are thankful for books. Take time this Thanksgiving to be thankful and to do some personal reading.
Reflection - Who influenced your reading desire or habits? What is your fondest memories of book reading? What can you do to encourage reading just as author James Patterson is trying to get more people involved in reading?
Patterson on saving books
15 Reasons to be Thankful for books Barnes and Noble book blog by Ginni Chen