I had a curious thought this week. It stemmed from a conversation with an acquaintance. She said, "I don't read many books."
On any other day, her statement might not have caught my attention. The words themselves were simple. Plain words even. And yet, they did not flow through my mind as an idle comment easily discarded. Like a barbed wire released too soon when crossing through a fence, and me having one foot still not on the ground, I was hooked. Something about the comment troubled me.
That evening, with time to reflect, I realized what I should have said: A person MUST make time to read.
Let me paint a picture.
Daron Fraley: Graduate of Cody High School, in Cody Wyoming. Decent grades, but not high enough for scholarships. Interests in several fields and a desire to learn. Went to college. Married and started a family. Ran out of money. Dropped out of school. Tried about 20 different jobs. Got back into school. Family grew. Ran out of money again. Dropped out of school again. Had a computer. Got a copy of Word Perfect. Read the manual. Learned to use the word processing program. Gained computer skills. Got a better job. Learned more programs. Read everything about them. Read about the computer. Read about networking. Read about programming. Got an even better job. Decided on a whim to start writing again. Had a killer idea for a novel. Wrote it. Read blogs about publishing and writing. Followed the advice of others, from their blogs. Got a contract with a publisher. Met really cool people. Got invited to do a guest blog.
This is WAY oversimplified. But do you see a trend?
And this doesn't even touch on the finest details of my life: The parts which make me who I am. Those eternally important, strongest, most ingrained parts which came about through reading.
Did you know that Daniel DeFoe's book, Robinson Crusoe, is not a story about a guy who is shipwrecked and survives? I swear, it isn't. There have been movies made about Robinson. And a whole slew of imitations, too. Swiss Family Robinson. Cast Away with Tom Hanks. Others. They typically deal with the issues of being alone, surviving in the wild, close calls with death, escaping the island, etc.
I never would have known this truly fascinating theme within the story had I not read DeFoe's book. Robinson finds a bible in the shipwreck. And he converts to Christianity. And he learns to repent. And he changes. And then he helps Friday to convert to Christianity. DeFoe's book is a conversion story.
That is what Robinson Crusoe is about. Don't believe me? I defy you to prove me wrong! Read the book!
What does that have to do with this post? I will tell you... Everything I have learned or done in this life has come about through three means:
1. I was taught by somebody else
2. I watched somebody else and tried it myself
3. I read about it and then applied that knowledge
And the most effective method, in many cases, has been the third on the list. Reading is powerful.
I am of the opinion that if every person in this country would read just two books a year, one fiction and one non-fiction, we would live in a very different place. Imagination, fired up by fiction, would drive innovation. Understanding and wisdom gained through non-fiction would further strengthen a better educated citizenry.
Perhaps I am a poster child for the school of the self-taught, and I have been a little overzealous. If so, that is OK. It is who I am. But the message remains:
Reading is power.
What do you think?
I'd like to thank Daron for being my guest today. It just so happens that it's his Birthday, so head on over to his blog and wish him a happy one. His debut novel is due out in March. Be sure to pre-order your copy by clicking on his book cover . You can also find him at any of the links he's provided below.
National Book Launch Party
Date: Tuesday, March 16th 2010
Time: 6:00-8:30 PM
Location: Barnes & Noble Booksellers
6 North Rio Grande Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
Author of "The Chronicles of Gan: The Thorn", coming March 2010
Website and Blog: http://www.daronfraley.com
Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/DaronFraley
Follow me on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3031982.Daron_D_Fraley
Follow me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Daron-D-Fraley-Author/258188354131
Happy Birthday, Daron!!!
My guest next week will be Kimberly Job.