Everything we experience shapes us. That includes the stuff we read. I got to thinking recently of what the books I read in my youth taught me, or tried to teach me. I thought I’d analyze it by genres, which is often the way I think about my reading. Let’s see if your experiences differed.
Westerns: (Example: Louis L’Amour: To Tame A Land). Taught me about being honorable, about standing up for what you believe in and what is right. Taught me to yearn for natural vistas and to enjoy a night out under the stars.
Y/A fiction: Animals stories: (Example: Walter Farley: The Black Stallion). Taught me about the bonds that are possible between humans and animals. Taught me to respect the strength and courage of our animal companions, and indeed of all animals. Taught me to see animals, not as humans, but as unique beings in their own right.
Science fiction: (Example: Ray Bradbury: The Martian Chronicles). Taught me about wonder, about the glories of strange landscapes, and about the nature of humanity’s fears of the unknown, and our abilities to adapt to that unknown. Taught me about the beauty of language to express what no one has ever actually seen or experienced.
Fantasy: (Example: Robert E. Howard: The Conan stories). Taught me about being independent minded, about not following the herd just because that’s “the way it’s always been done.” Taught me to think about the things I was told rather than accept them blindly. Also taught me about honor and about establishing one’s own sense of ethics.
Sports stories: (Example: Joe Arichbald: Hard Nosed Half Back). Taught me about getting up one more time than I’m knocked down. Taught me about perseverance, about preparing yourself for your chance rather than just waiting for luck to find you.
There are other genres I read. Maybe I’ll talk about them later. But this is enough for one blog post. I’m sorry I’ve been absent so long. Last week was, to put it mildly, “full.” Lana had her tonsils taken out, which from what the doctor said appears to be the source of her cancer. There is still the issue in the lymph node but we are supposed to see him next week about that. I’ll keep you informed.
In the meantime, what did your reading teach you?