Reading keeps your mind imaginative, alert
Published 12:00 am Monday, April 3, 2006
I have always found the library to be a fascinating place and, if time allowed, would gladly waste my afternoons away on a couch with a book in hand.
I suppose that's what makes places like Barnes and Noble so popular; the couches and comfortable chairs and the ever present smell of coffee brewing nearby.
I also suppose that when so-and-so approached so-and-so about a bookstore chain offering free seats and treats, the first so-and-so was thought to be insane. People would simply enter the store, read all the magazines, newspapers, thin novels and such, and leave without paying a dime, the second so-and-so said. A bookstore is a place to buy books, he thought. Not a library.
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Yet Barnes and Noble continues to thrive, eating away at a market once dominated by the smaller book shop encountered in malls across the country. Those smaller bookshops were probably the first place I jetted off to when my mother took me to a mall in Montgomery. Had there been a Barnes and Noble, complete with pastries and soda and tables to kick your feet up on, I would have been in hog heaven.
It saddens me these days to see so few children or teenagers picking up a book to read just for the fun of it. Usually, when a student is found with a novel in their bedrooms it's because their teachers required it of them. Most of their time is spent occupied in front of a television, either with an video game controller in hand, or watching the newest show or DVD.
Please don't get me wrong. I love my X-Box and my movies and even enjoy Paris and Nicole's “Simple Life” reality show, God help me. I like “American Idol” and I've currently started watching the first season of “The Sopranos” on DVD.
But a book, dear children, that is where it's at.
My point: How often is it said that a Hollywood movie based on a bestselling novel is never as good as the book? The reason? Because you place some much of an emotional investment into the pages and characters of a 400 or 500-page novel. A two-hour facsimile on a television or movie screen gives you none of that. And while you may offer up a few obligatory tears at the ending, you haven't really grown as a person or learned much of anything.
When asked if he'd seen Peter Jackson's adaptation of “The Lord of the Rings” one of my English professors balked at ever seeing it. When asked why, he simply replied, “because it would ruin the book for me.”
And although I liked the three films, he was right. I had my own mental picture of what all the characters looked like and now I can't get that annoying little digital creature that played Gollum out of my head.
Reading keeps your mind alive, alert and imaginative. I've always been a reader and I hope you are to.
Kevin Pearcey is Group Managing Editor of Greenville Newspapers, LLC. He can be reached by phone at 383-9302, ext. 136 or by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.