I confess to being a book geek. It is a sickness I embrace. I have many many books. I will read nearly anything, but mostly enjoy fiction, books that allow me to escape for a couple hours. I will also read books repeatedly over the years, which some people won't do. I never understood that. To me, it's no different than watching a favorite movie. Some of my favorite authors include Jean Auel, Willa Cather, Philippa Gregory, Ernest Thompson Seton, James Oliver Curwood, Conn Iggulden, Stephen King and Larry McMurtry. I still enjoy young adult and children's books. I've always loved Willard Price's Adventure Series, and still enjoy Marguerite Henry, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Walt Morey, etc. I've tried a few newer authors, and it seems that a lot of the books geared toward younger readers nowadays are a bit mindless, and many are overly simple. I did come across some excellent books recently, the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan. I tried them out after watching the recent movie that was loosely based on the first book (as usual, book is much better).
The reason I like this series so much, aside from the fun story, is that they are actually teaching the reader something in addition to just being a good read. They teach a generation of young readers about the Greek myths, heroes, and gods. The reader is learning right along with the main character, a young boy named Percy who learns that he is a demigod and a son of Poseidon. I didn't learn about the Greek myths in school, and doubt students nowadays do either. I learned about them through books I read on my own because I found them interesting (still love The Odyssey). Is knowing about Zeus, Charon, or the Titans essential knowledge? Not necessarily. Learning about these characters, though, may encourage young readers to delve deeper, read more, learn more. Books like these give new life to old stories. Reading helps to expand your vocabulary and boost creativity. (I wonder how many young readers of this series have had to look up the meaning of "greave" or "caltrop"). Exposure to literature new and classical helps one understand different viewpoints, ways of living, ways of thinking. And, of course, reading is excellent, relatively inexpensive entertainment. Can't beat that!
I used to get in trouble for reading by flashlight, under the covers, after bedtime. My mother was also caught at this as a child. I hope that when I have children of my own, I catch them doing the same. There are far worse things than getting caught with a good book.
Here's to hoping that you are never caught without a good book on hand...
From every book invisible threads reach out to other books; and as the mind comes to use and control those threads the whole panorama of the world's life, past and present, becomes constantly more varied and interesting, while at the same time the mind's own powers of reflection and judgment are exercised and strengthened. ~Helen E. Haines