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Reading for fun: I just don’t do it anymore

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I’m a big fan of reading magazines and newspapers. After all, the articles are fairly short, sweet, and to the point – much unlike the posts that I make.

The style and convenience of those two forms of media keep me hooked, and lead me to believe that they are quite out the door like some techno-gurus would like to have you believe. But the one advantage that newspapers and magazines have are that they report on news and events that are happening now.

But I asked myself the other day when was the last time I read a book for fun. That’s right, for fun. That means reading during my leisure time when I could have been doing something else. I came up to the conclusion that the last one I read for fun was The Masters of Doom, the story of John Romero and John Carmack, the original founders of id Software.

That’s a non-fictional biography.

Where are all of the science fiction novels that I used to read when I was a kid? Where are the simple crime novels I used to borrow from the library, read in two days, and return it in exchange for the next one in the series?

Something happens when you get older. Time begins to become a precious commodity and we start assigning importance to all of our daily activities. I think for most people, family and work come first and second (in which order is different for everyone I suppose) while I would suspect leisure activities coming in after. Reading used to be one of my favorite leisure time activities. Why? For one, it was completely free. The local public library became my treasure trove of different books and magazines that I could borrow free of charge and return.

But reading for fun has gone the way of the dinosaur for me now. Nowadays I only read materials I have to (textbooks, research journals, etc) or I feel I should be reading like the newspaper. Now I’m trying to find time to fit in reading back into my schedule, but for now, I just wanted to reminisce about some of the books I enjoyed when I was young.

The Boxcar Children Those zany boxcar kids were a hoot for me when I was young. They had absolutely amazing adventures that never ceased to amaze, and while I admit that the later books really were starting to stretch the bounds of realism, the first book holds a special place in my heart. I think that’s the book where they made a fridge from some source of running water. Young MacGyvers!

Ribsy Henry Huggins, where are you? This classic book gave me hours of joy as I read about this energetic dog (on the proverbial search for a family) and his boy owner. Countless sequels kept this dog’s adventures going.

My Teacher is an Alien Although I preferred the latter books in this series (especially My Teacher Glows in the Dark), this first book is also very good. How many of us haven’t had a teacher who was so mean we thought she must be from another planet? Well, in this series it turns out to be true. My Teacher Flunks the Planet made a lot of different philosophical turns and points in the book which sort of zoom over the head of a 4th or 5th grader (the target audience), but all in all, a great series.

Goosebumps RL Stine was one of my favorite authors when I was a kid (next to Christopher Pike) and it was this series that really captured my attention. This series was later turned into a kids afternoon show, but it was great semi-horror books based on monsters, witchcraft, and fun. My favorite book had to be Night of the Living Dummy, and Monster Blood was good too (think the Blob). Although RL Stine did a lot of great books other than the Goosebumps series (the Fear street series), I’ll always remember this one.

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing I was Peter Hatcher when I read this book. As a fourth grader who didn’t quite have an identity yet and had younger siblings that drove him crazy (although Fudge is especially wild, not to mention a great nickname), I really felt for Peter and I loved the books, including the spin offs Fudge-A-Mania and Superfudge. There are wildly loveable characters and there is a certain charm to the everyday antics the kids get themselves into. Just great fun all the way around.

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  • http://trinimansblog.blogspot.com/ Triniman

    I hear you, Tam. I have a tough time making time to read for pleasure. On the other hand, I feel very informed about topics that interest me, due to the Internet, and to a lesser extent, the multitude of magazines that I read. I managed to get the library at work to subscribe to Wired, Utne, and a few computer magazines that I used to pay for out of pocket. At home, I subscribe to or buy on the newsstand, about 8 music magazines.

  • http://trinimansblog.blogspot.com/ Triniman

    And I’ve been a subscriber of the main daily newspaper here for many years.

  • gonzo marx

    bah…set aside some time for yourself…find a Book that interests you that has NOTHING to do with anything you HAVE to do…

    if you don’t give yourself Time for enjoyment, no one else will…

    if you don’t allow your Mind some distraction, once in a while…you can easily stress yourself into lime jell-o with the tiny marshmellows floating in it…

    far too many folks nowadays are stressing themselves into an early grave…as well as alienating friends and family, too focused and obsessed with priorities that really don’t have any value in the grand scheme of things…indicated by all the silly medications people take to alleviate the symptoms of stressing out over nothing

    so spend time with those important to you..watch a movie for fun..grab a book and give yourself time to enjoy it…

    just my one sixth billionths of the world’s Opinion…

    Excelsior!

  • http://ginasramblings.blogspot.com/ Gina

    I find myself reading less and less for fun these days. Since I became a book reviewer for sites elsewhere, myreading has been towards that end and not much for fun.

  • Shark

    Tam: “…Something happens when you get older.”

    Change to: “…something happened when I got older.”

    =======

    I’m with Gonzo; ie. what he said.

    And the older I get, the more time I find for reading. Here’s why:

    As to: “…Time begins to become a precious commodity and we start assigning importance to all of our daily activities.” — You’ve got it all wrong.

    Nowadays, I can spend time with domesticated bipedal primates who don’t have a thought in their heads — or I can sit down and “visit with” Camus, Twain, Sabatini, Wells — and a few million other interesting folks with something to say.

    Get yer priorities right — or as my mother used to say:

    “If you love something, YOU’LL FIND THE TIME FOR IT.”

    There are no excuses.

    xxoo
    Shark [who devours more books per week than he does right-wing wounded digital seals!]

  • http://rxintern.com Tam Hoang

    While I generally do agree with you guys, I have to say that it’s easier said than done, especially if you already have reading as a part of your leisure time. I will try to make time for it as much as I can though. Thanks for your comments guys.

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    Books Editor Pat Cummings (aka DrPat) picked this for an Editors’ Pick of the Week. Go find out why HERE.

    Thank you.