The Walking Unread

As a teacher and an avid reader, I’m appalled by the number of people who don’t read consistently.  I may set the bar of reading an inordinate amount of books very high, but I’m amazed at the number of people who don’t consider reading an essential part of their lives.

Perhaps it is because I am the great indoorswoman.  When faced with the decision to climb a mountain or read, reading will always win.  Go fishing? Well, can I read while I’m there?  Definitely safer for the fish and more interesting for me.  Now a book about fishing?  That I could get into.

I’m somewhat of a linguist, and have always found words intoxicating.  The origin of words is fascinating to me.  How language has changed and evolved over the years is extraordinarily interesting to me.  Obvious examples are gay=happy, which has become gay=homosexual in the current vernacular. Awesome means something that fills you with awe.  But this is generally used now as something you really like.  That movie may have been awesome, but it definitely did not fill me with awe.

One of my top books of all time is The Madman and the Professor: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of The Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester.  Just the title should explain why this is one of my favorite books.

the professor and the manman

But the real draw of reading for me?  Escapism combined with adventure.  I’m frequently a little sad when finishing a book.  I feel like I know the characters and wonder what will happen next in their lives.  I totally agree with this quote from the Holden Caulfield character in J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, “What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.”

There is a reason why book series are so popular.  And why some characters are famous.  Hercule Poirot, Jane Eyre, Jack Reacher,  Katness Everdeen, Harry Bosch, Hermione Granger and Ebenezer Scrooge, to name a few.  Many people find them unique and compelling and can’t wait for what they will say and do next, either in the next in the series, or in the reader’s imagination.

Why is the series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin (usually referred to as the Game of Thrones books) so popular?  Adventure.  Sex.  Love. Fantasy.  Violence.  Incest.  Evil.  Goodness.  Death.  Who isn’t drawn to those topics?

Historically, only the upper echelons of society were educated and well-read. It was frowned upon for women to read other than the society pages and recipes. But in today’s society, education is supposed to change all of that.  It is the right of everyone to receive the education that carries the gift of literacy. That is the burden and challenge for teachers.  To motivate children so that they are capable of reading, able and interested to read for pleasure, and have the gift of opening their minds to other thoughts, other cultures, other experiences.

To staunch the flow of the walking unread.




About Barb Knowles

The things that are important to me are family, friends, teaching, writing, languages and using my sense of humor to navigate this crazy world. Please join me on this blogging adventure...
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17 Responses to The Walking Unread

  1. Glazed says:

    The Walking Unread seems an apt appellation. We’re you inspired by reading a zombie book?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Bea dM says:

    Family environmen counts, but also individual character (one child in a family reads, the other doesn’t), and how reading is taught at school. I had a French school education that seemed to inspire most of us to read lots, but my kids went to Italian schools that had a deadening effect with total focus on ancient literature (no surprise that Italian adults are at the bottom of the EU scale for reading books). My daughter did become an avid reader notwithstanding, but only because of my continuously updated stash of modern world literature in English

    Liked by 2 people

    • Barb Knowles says:

      I totally agree that parental influences have a strong effect. My parents were both avid readers and we saw them and read with them. Two of us read constantly, but one of my brothers does not. I read all the time, but my ex-husband does not. 2/3 of my kids read. So it had an influence, but was not the only one.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Bea dM says:

        yes, so teachers are super important too! make reading choices as interesting/fun as possible – if the school curriculum allows it?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Barb Knowles says:

        We should be next-door neighbors because we have so much in common, 🙂
        I try to mix up genres and use song lyrics. How are students supposed to know what they like and don’t like if they don’t get good choices?


  3. Very well-written. You put it perfectly. I won’t go anywhere unless I can take a book. haha.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Reading has been the great solace of my life. For me, reading let’s me know I’m not alone more than any other activity I engage in. I shudder to think how badly my life could have turned out had it not been for reading. Great use of the zombie trope by the way.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Barb Knowles says:

      And I thought you would like the Game of Thrones reference, too, lol. I agree with every word you said. If I hadn’t learned to read, and to read well, at an early age, I would have had no release from some dark days. Not quite as dramatic as that makes it sound. But solace as well as thrills and adventures that definitely were not happening in my real life.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Bookmarker says:

    Reading is the one thing I enjoy more than anything and have no problem with spending my money for. A perfect example was brought up by my boyfriend to his friends recently. We were all together and he said “she can go an entire week without turning the TV on, but she will probably read 3 books in that time.” He said it rather proudly, which I quite enjoyed. My first blog post (I’m very new to blogging) was about how I started reading. I completely relate to this post and your writing is wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Barb Knowles says:

      Thank you so much! I will definitely check out your blog tonight. Thank you for the wonderful compliment. I, too, watch very little TV. But now that I have Netflix……haha. I still read all the time, but when the words are starting to get blurry at night, I turn to some mindless entertainment on Netflix.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Anna says:

    Awsome post (hihi). Reading is to breath 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. l3monade says:

    I can never seem to pick up a good book more often than not, usually I end up reading from either a single author or series because of the style and the connection I have with the characters. It may sound odd and highly delusional but for me the first five pages of a book is the most important. If I’m captivated, it’s a good buy for me even if the rest of the series does not always live up to the first book. Probably that’s why I could never get into reading in the long run and it usually ends up in short bursts of a few months. I do however greatly enjoy when the opportunity of acquiring a good book drops by and it always is rewarding when you can send off your favorite characters at the end of the book with a smile.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Barb Knowles says:

      It’s funny that you say that because I usually have to be hooked by the first paragraph, lol. I give a book about 25 pages and if I’m not interested by then I don’t read it. There are millions of books out there, and a finite time for us to read them. So I just move on and try another one. Why waste time on a book that you don’t really care about? Thanks for reading this blog post and commenting. Keep looking for books you can enjoy! It’s worth it.


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