Monday, November 21, 2005

Fast Food Reading

Recently, I have been on the rampage to encourage more people to read more. But one of the issues I haven't addressed is what kind of books do I read? Permit me to use a personal example to draw out my point.

In order to prevent my brain from exploding, I was reading Stephen King's 7th book in the Dark Tower series in conjunction with two or three other books I was trying to wrap up. As time progressed, I was giving more and more time to King's book and less to those books I actually needed to read. Eventually I was reading King exclusively, just so I could get to the end. When I finished I was exhausted but not edified. The ending of that particular book by the way was particularly disturbing for a lot of reasons which I don't want to address here. I mean, it was silly for me to expect a happy ending from King, the master of horror and pain.

These sorts of books are like fast food. Occasionally stopping to have a quarter pounder with cheese is okay. Stapling your diet from that is not. Reading a "light" work is good to break up the flow of what one reads, but one ought not make a strict diet out of fluffy literature. Like fast food, I could read King very quickly because (sorry, Steve) there isn't a lot of depth there. Reading leads us to discover the truly human, and that requires a certain amount of work in our reading.

So, when you read, read only the best.

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