Book Lover

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Book Lover

by Pat Rooney

               “Dad, you are going to love it.”  That was a quote from my son, a year ago, urging me to pick up a thick biography on Lyndon Johnson titled The Path to Power.  It is the first of Robert A. Caro’s three-volume set on the 36th President of the United States.   Despite his urging, I was reluctant to start the book.  The size of the book wasn’t an issue, but the fact that I never thought much of Johnson as a person or president.  As often happens, I was hooked on the book immediately.  The writing was excellent and the subject matter fascinating, not just about Johnson, but the Hill County of Texas and the characters caught up in the history.  More importantly, I was reminded of the pleasure of reading, in general, no matter the subject.  I believe we are all better off with a book to accompany us during the day.  In this high-tech-world we find ourselves in, I am a believer that a book reading habit can provide a welcome respite from the screens.

The advantages of reading, while obvious to many, and probably those reading this article, have been obscured by the relentless push out of technological distractions and obligations in today’s world. Smart phones are everywhere, forever sucking our time away from other pursuits.  And the wizards behind the phones are forever thinking of ways to make them more indispensable, more central to our lifestyle.  Now these same wizards, if you ask them, acknowledge the perils and pitfalls of the phones and indeed seek to limit their screen time and that of their families.

I myself concede the point and do spend a good bit of time on the phone with e-mails, texts and in The New York Times game section.  And all this is not necessarily a bad thing.  It’s the world we live in.  Tech has its advantages and disadvantages.  My point is, to those of us trying to keep a regulator on the screen time, reading can help immensely.  Having a book with you gives you another option when you have spare time, are at an airport, home, or wherever.  Pursuing an interest, exploring a new filed of study or learning history, the written page grabs you and engulfs you in just that story.  It increases concentration and exercises the mind the way tablets and phones cannot.  Books help us stay grounded in the real world, so to speak.  The irony is that phones and tablets can do all this, as well, but with interruptions and distractions from advertisements inevitably not far behind.

We all read on our phones and there are many advantages of the technology, of course.  However, by setting aside some time each day to read a book you can deescalate some of the stimulus of the screen and provide some additional balance to your life.  Writing helps as well, but that’s a whole other story.

4 Comments for : Book Lover
    • Paul Moore
    • April 8, 2024
    Reply

    Pat, as usual, you made me think. I’ve read very few physical books since before Covid, but hundreds online. I’m going to work on that!
    Great to be with you last week as you received Scouting’s Distinguished Citizen Award!

    • Donna Lawrence
    • April 8, 2024
    Reply

    Great food for thought, Pat! Thanks for sharing.

    • Dennis Shockley
    • April 8, 2024
    Reply

    A few years ago I invested in a Kindle. Much more portable than Caro’s books and easier to travel with. Also, if I ever forget my Kindle, then I can pick up where I left off in the Kindle Ap on my iPhone. Technology can help you read even more. So if you see me glued to my iPhone, I might just be reading a book.

    • Dick Hefton
    • April 8, 2024
    Reply

    A TV interviewer asked my friend and pastor, Mike Anderson, what book he kept at bedside?
    Mike’s response, “I don’t read in bed!”
    He’s a PhD. I keep one to six by mine and read thee pages up to a chapter nightly!

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