Some of you will recognize the quote in the title from the campaign in the 70s to get children reading. There were many reasons for the effort, not the least of which was the American desire to beat the Soviet Union and China in literacy rates. A catchy slogan and several public service announcements with requisite stars talking about books became the basis of the campaign, which ran for a number of years.
I love to read. I remember distinct points when I rediscovered the enjoyment of reading as I grew older. After learning to read Dick and Jane books, I moved slowly but surely to Danny the Dinosaur, Curious George and, of course, the Richard Scary books. Just when I thought I had reached the pinnacle of reading entertaining literature I was introduced to Encyclopedia Brown, Stuart Little and A Cricket in Times Square and a whole new world opened up to me.
I moved to the Hardy Boys for a time but then languished once again until a local librarian showed me Mark Twain, Ursula K. LeGuin, biographies on Daniel Boone, and many others. As I made my way through those, I discovered the Chronicles of Narnia and the Hobbits, which led me to dive into the fantasy genre which kept me entranced through high school.
Sure, I read the traditional classics ranging from Beowulf to Ivanhoe, The Three Musketeers to Mobile Dick, The Lord of the Flies to Fahrenheit 451, and I read a lot of nonfiction, mainly history and biographies, but my love was always the escape of fiction. However, as I entered adulthood I feared once again that I had read most all of what was enjoyable and that the only things left were boring and mundane. At that point I found Stephen King, Ken Follett, and many, many others, and again discovered the joy of escape into other stories
Even today I sometimes catch myself bemoaning the dearth of a good escapist read, and, as always, something new rises up and draws my interest. It is just my opinion, but I believe it is important in this age of video to take time to dive into and enjoy a good book. It stimulates the mind, relaxes the body and relieves stress…plus it is nonfattening so long as you are not eating at the same time.
So, as the summer kicks into high gear, take my advice. Grab your Kindle, Nook, paperback or hardback and spend some quality time jumping into a good story. It beats watching most of the movies out there.