I’ve read about half of about half of these books. Let’s just say that reading isn’t my forte. I desperately wish otherwise though. My peers are all very well read individuals, and in an effort to avoid having to do the work myself, I have an uncanny ability to absorb every drop of worthwhile knowledge they take away from their books by letting them tell me all about it. Most readers enjoy telling you about the books they read, so it works out very well.
See I grew up in a household somewhat confused about its literacy. My parents watch a lot of TV, well, my mother watches a lot of TV and my father spends most of his free time surfing the internet (which does actually involve a lot of reading, he’s not playing poker). Surprisingly, though, there are many books in the house, tucked away on a shelf in a back room or in a cabinet in the kitchen. My mother’s book collection involves decorating, cooking and crafts. My father’s library includes mostly biographies or historical themed non-fiction. As a child, I’d occasionally see him reading them outside of a bedtime routine. I remember one occasion where he was reading a new book (probably some kind of Who Shot JFK book) and I was impressed that he was already half way through the book after just having started it that day. After commenting on this he said something like, “no I just skip around to the chapters I want to read.” Being a kid (and an adult) who is painfully obedient to all the rules of life, including the unstated rule that you have to read chapters 1 & 2 before you dare venture into chapter 3, this completely blew my mind. Skip around?! How do you know what’s going on in the story, I thought. This was well before the concept of reading non-fiction for pleasure ever entered my mind. Now non-fiction is really all I can fathom reading for pleasure. My imagination is kind of stale. I pity Marlo the day she asks me to tell her a story.
But, essentially, this all comes down to Marlo. I look at her and I know she’s a smart kid already and I want her to use the brains in that big noggin wisely and not rot them in front of the TV. I understand full well that this is only likely to happen if mom and dad surround her in a culture of reading. She has to see mom and dad reading as a normal occurrence for her to have a chance of picking up the habit. She has to see new books as something to get excited about more so than a new episode of The Office.
So this week, Monday through Friday, Jeff and I are having a “No TV Week”. We were inspired by the husband of Jeff’s colleague who is a principal and does this every year at his school. Not only are we going to do it this week, but we’re going to have a No TV Week the last week of every month. Hopefully we’ll force ourselves into reading habits instead of the dreadful couch potato TV zombie habits we currently participate in.
Our reading list this week:
Emily: Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History of English by John McWhorter
Numerous research articles for her research paper
Jeff: City of Thieves by David Benioff