I have been a bookworm since I first learned to read. In grade school at recess, my classmates were running and playing ball while many times I sat reading a book.
My mother taught country school near where she was raised in Minnesota and was teaching school at my dad’s home town where they met.
Obviously, my mother believed in learning. My dad, however, was a reluctant student (we found one of his report cards). He just wanted to be on the farm.
Remember book clubs? An annual subscription was paid and every month a new book would arrive in the mail. There was the Weekly Reader Book Club and the Landmark Book Club that specialized in history.
I was always happy to read whatever they sent. I remember one of the books I received from the Weekly Reader Book Club was titled something similar to “A Student’s Atlas of the World.” I studied it and studied it. If it is possible to wear out a book, I may have come close to doing just that.
In grade school it was Tab Books, where we could order paperback books several times a year from a paper resembling a small newspaper. While my classmates were ordering a book, I was picking out four to six books and then doing a selling job on my parents why I wanted each of them.
I read them all.
My fifth grade teacher introduced our class to the Hardy Boys mystery books. She would read a chapter a day to us right after lunch. It was the best part of the day for all of us.
I remember a big blizzard that kept us home from school. I was grateful to have an uninterrupted afternoon to read Jacques Costeau’s “The Living Sea.”
Then growing up became important and it was easier to watch television than read. Sad, isn’t it?
Books are back to first choice now as television stinks. Fortunately, my wife enjoys reading and we have books on shelves throughout our home.
My favorite subjects are historical in nature from biographies to old cars and tractors to geology. You have to coerce me to read fiction; I want names, dates, and places.
I have books in print and in digital form. A favorite shopping place is on the internet where I can buy used out of print books for a few dollars, in hard cover, even.
This leads me into my latest adventure in reading.
Within the last month, I saw the weekend edition of Coast to Coast AM had two hours on a favorite subject of mine near death experiences.
An ICU doctor was to be interviewed about her experiences in the ICU with patients who have had a near death experience.
The doctor was a great interview and I learned she had a book she had written about her experiences with those patients.
I used my Kindle to find her book, and I was hooked.
By Sunday evening I was up to chapter eight and I remembered she said she had a website. I looked it up and it had a place where I could contact the author.
I filled in the blanks with my name and e-mail. Then I wrote a short message about how much I enjoyed her interview and now the book.
At 10:30 that Sunday evening, I had a personal reply from the author.
From listening to the radio interview to reading her reply, that all happened in a span of eighteen hours and I never left home.
Reading books sure isn’t what it used to be. The enjoyment lives on.
Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at email@example.com.