Jones' Outlook

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Home is where the books are

Part of my job involves a lot of reading, some for background information and others for story ideas. Even after I get off work, I go home and read some more because reading to me is also fun.

Reading is something that I feel is still important (not just because I write for a paper and want people to read my stories but because I feel that it is something that can help everyone.)

When I was younger, I had hearing problems and struggled greatly with reading. Not being able to hear the sounds correctly affected my ability to read and even talk properly. But my parents wanted me to be able to read. After some struggles and speech therapy, reading just seem to click for me.

I think one of the things that helped me out the most were the public libraries in the different communities I lived in. I remember when I was 5, the bookmobile was always at the top of the hill near my house when I got home from school.

I also remember getting my first library card, which in some ways opened up the world. I was a kid that would check out certain books again and again. They took me places and taught me things.

Also something that encourage me to read was the Pizza Hut Book It program. Nothing like reading enough books to get that little ticket for a personal pan pizza. That was a lot of time and work for a tiny taste, but pizza never tasted so good as a pizza earned.

Sometimes I wish I could go and do the program all over again.

I have to admit that my taste have changed. I was really hooked to the Goosebumps series as a kid; I had a ton of them (and that was still not the whole collection), and then my taste changed and I moved into different authors.

Some things I think has been great to encourage reading are series like Harry Potter. I've read them and am waiting for the final book to come out in July; they are surprisingly good from my perspective at least. I think that a kids' book that can get adults really involved and interested in the story is a solid winner.

I have always believed that reading is a strong workout for the mind. I don't think everyone has to read "War and Peace" but some reading is always better then nothing. There is surely something for every taste somewhere in our local library.

I hear some kids talking about watching TV and playing video games all day and night and it sometimes scares me to think what is going to happen in future generations.

I like video games and TV just as much as the next person but I always make sure to at least read some good minutes for pleasure every day.

Even if reading opinion pages from the newspapers is all that is done, I feel that it gives the brain a bit of a workout.

Maybe I'm old-fashioned and like to have something tangible in my hands. Maybe I should hope that kids are doing their reading online. I know that you can get e-books, countless publications are now on the world wide web and maybe that really is the future.

I do read blogs and web reports more and more. But I still have my books, too, because that's part of who I am.

Who knows. maybe 50 years down the line, libraries will be websites, bookstores will be more like I-tunes where you purchase the idea you would like to read online, and the idea of an actual paper book will be a novelty. But as long as we read and grow, that is what matters.

* Reach Jeff Jones at jjones@stormlake pilottribune.com