Thursday, January 14, 2010

Don't Burn After Reading!

I may have mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. I love books. I love the way they feel, I love the way they smell, and I love the way they look. As mentioned in my last post, my most recent purchase is a graphic novel version of the Ray Bradbury classic Farenheit 451.

But I think the thing I love most about books is the potential and the promise that each one holds. To me, the most exciting part of reading a book is finishing it. That way, I get to chose which of the large drawer full I will read next. To choose which unknown destination I will be transported to with the next story.

The mere thought of Firemen, designated to find and burn books, were it real would fill me with despair.

Happily, I see much of this same excitement and anticipation for books spring forth in Lukas each evening as I arrive home from work. This 2 1/2 year old boy is crazy about the little sheets of wood. He can't get enough of them. It seems that he would much rather give me a huge smile and a tight embrace, then run to the bookshelf to scan through his ever expanding library for the perfect selection. Tonight, as is the case most nights recently, one book led to another...and another...and another.

It is also rewarding to think that the stories we have recently shared have been just that, stories. Lukas has effectively moved beyond picture books, opting rather for books heavy on words and content, such as Frog and Toad, and the longer Dr. Seuss books. I even had to read him 'Worax' (The Lorax) twice in a row Sunday, then Horton Hears a Who twice as well, and finally Yertle the Turtle, all this in one sitting.

I am fairly certain that this fascination with books that our son has, has much to do with the absence of television in our home. His mind is certainly a sponge right now, and the vacuum that might normally be filled by stories on a screen are instead being filled between the pages.

I think this is a good thing. At least I hope it is. I didn't read many books myself, for pleasure, until my late 20's and I often feel like I missed out on quite a bit more than just the stories because of this. I often feel I would have had a much better grasp on my young adulthood had I been more well read at the time.

Given all that, I am happy that Lukas loves his books. The thought of him learning to read at a young age is one that would fill me not only with pride, but with hope. Hope that he can translate such a skill into better interpreting the diverse and confusing world around him. And to think, it's all right there in the pages of Dr. Seuss.

But, then again, maybe I am just another proud father reading too much into it.
image: wikipedia


Surfer Jay said...

I have an ancient newspaper article interviewing Bradbury. And he said that everyone misinterpreted 451, all the critics, all the school, etc.. He said that he did not write it to be about censorship, he wrote it to show how he felt that TV was begginning to dominate the media, how he forsaw that TV would replace the written word and books.

Living in LA, where he lives, I have had the oppurtunity to see him in person five times over the past 18 months. Two of them he spoke for an hour. I got every one of his books signed in person and got a signed photo of me with him. Sorry for bragging, but it was really cool:) You can see where he will be next on his website forum.

And I understand completely. I so want my boy to be interested in books. I have a huge collection, (to my wifes dismay) and read to him all the time. Although, just as I did when I was a kid, as soon as I discovered computers and skateboards and surfing, I didn't go back to books untill twenty years later.....I just hope my boy reads more than I did as a teen.

Lady Mama said...

I agree about books - those people that like the Kindle are insane. It's great to love books at such a young age. I'm proud that my toddler loves to read too (we are telly watchers but I'm a big advocate of reading).

SciFi Dad said...

We're big readers here, despite the presence of television. I think the key is encouraging and fostering a love for reading (in any form... little notes, the side of a cereal box, a sign on the road, books).

Ed said...

One of the best dad moments ever---listening to your child read for the first time. You can't do it and not melt on the floor next to them.

Mrs. M said...

Reading to our kids and sharing the love of reading is one of the best things we can do for them and it's amazing how many people don't do it at all!!

Chris Mancini said...

Reading is big in our house too. My favorite author, Neil Gaiman writes kids books too and my 18 month old just fell in love with his book "Crazy Hair"

Captain Dumbass said...

We love our tv, but we read a lot of books and so far the children enjoy them as well.