Tuesday, July 22, 2014 | By: Lynn

What Books Do

The world is getting bigger. Can you feel it? It’s sort of like when a bell rings, an angel gets its wings. But in this case, when the world adds a new reader to its population, the world expands…for that person.

It’s been amazing to witness the transformation right in my household. The sheer pleasure and pride and excitement are fun to be a part of. I’ll explain.

My husband always encouraged our kids to read, as, of course, did I. They all grew up to be reading adults. The kind of readers who read all kinds of books and enjoy them. But my husband kept hidden from them that he didn’t read. He knew how, but whenever we talked about it he said he wasn’t a good reader. He didn’t like reading. Then a few years ago I pointed out how odd that he so believed reading was a good thing, but he didn’t read. He agreed. But still didn’t start reading.

Another time, I told him my life had been so enriched by the books I’ve read. I talked about learning things and engaging with different places and people than I would ever actually do in person. I told him he’s missing out on all the good stuff. I remember what he said: “You’re probably right. I’ll consider it.”

Well, that was my cue. I bought him a book about running and encouraged him to read it, even if he’s a poor reader, so that he maybe could talk about running with our running kids. That appealed to him. And that was the starting off point of my husband becoming a bona fide “reader.” He reads for pleasure. He reads instead of watching television. From that first book about running he has turned selecting books to read into an adventure. He’s read thick biographies about important people. He reads print and on his tablet. He’s read short books about animals. He’s read adventure books. One of those was the first book he read that he couldn’t put down until it was finished and it was more than 200 pages long. He’s read nonfiction books about sports and race and triumph under terrible circumstances. He finished a Tom Clancy book of about 800 pages in two weeks. He’s even read my three romance novels and given me the gift of being moved by the stories.

Since that first book about running, he has read a list of books that totals 35 various sorts of books. This summer so far he’s read six, including the long Tom Clancy. When he was reading a book about Thomas Edison, he would share tidbits from the book about the man. Did you know Thomas Edison not only invented the light bulb, he also designed an efficient battery and opened a factory, and through his inventions provided hundreds and hundreds of jobs? And did you know he also developed a distribution system for electricity? My husband enjoyed sharing those facts from the Thomas Edison book he read. He loves to talk with me about the books he’s reading and it’s pure delight for me. His eyes light up and his discussion is animated. He’s become a member of an interesting group of people: readers.

Do I take credit for initiating this phenomenon in my husband? Of course. But his transformation is truly all his doing. He proves that people can change, and in doing so, the world expands. Books can do that. Whether it’s fiction, such as the Golden Book The Sleepy Little Puppy, or a romance novel, a classic, or nonfiction, such as the biography my husband read about Nelson Mandela or the sports book about football he read in about three days, books open the world for readers.

I asked him the other day, after he finished another book, if he’s become a good reader. He cocked his head and smiled and said, “Maybe I have.” I said, “It sure looks like it.”

What book got you started in your love of reading? Mine happened to be The Sleepy Little Puppy.


Gwen said...

Dad just called me last night, and we talked about a book that we both had!! He shared with me that he really enjoyed it, and so now I'm looking forward to reading it. I love that we can give each other book recommendations now! :)

Gwen said...

P.S. I think my love of reading really blossomed with my Nancy Drew books. I had a whole shelf of those things!

Lynn said...

I like that, too, Gwen. That you can share about books. You're a sweetie! BTW, the Nancy Drew books are still on the shelf!