One of the great blessings of my childhood is that we did not have a TV set until I was in the 8th grade.
Yes, that is right. I lived until the age of 13 in a household without a television.
Spare me your expressions of sympathy. It was an incredible advantage, “for as the twig is bent, so grows the tree.”
With no one-eyed god to worship, no vast wasteland in which to fritter away our evenings, no toxic dump to pollute our minds and stifle our creativity and imaginations, we did simple things. We read, talked to each other about our days, shared our thoughts, rode bikes, played board games, did our homework. Mundane family stuff.
I grew up with a love of reading that persists today, and in my office at home is a library where every wall surface that is not a window or a mirror is a bookshelf. As I write now, I am surrounded by books and it is a place where I am most comfortable.
My library is 70% to 80% non-fiction, although there is a vibrant science fiction section. SiFi always stroked my imagination. Loved it as a youngster, still do today. And there is a decent action-adventure section. And I once went through a western kick, Louis L’Amour mainly.
Books have been my mentors, my guides, my teachers, incredible wells of wisdom. To me, each book represents the accumulated knowledge of the author’s lifetime, summarized and distilled for my edification and enrichment. I can lift my gaze and let it travel along the spines of the volumes whose presence embraces me. Each title brings back memories of the journey of learning the author and I traveled together.
Someone once asked me where I found the time to read so much. Finding time to read is simple. I don’t watch TV.
This is a classic from the NSC Blog archive. Originally posted February 28, 2008.