Dear Fans, Friends, Fiends, Foes, Family, Followers and Foundlings,
“I can’t imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once.” – C.S. Lewis
As some of you may or may not know, there are some books I read over and over, again and again, every few years. Have Spacesuit Will Travel by Robert Heinlein and all 6 books of the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy trilogy for fun and on a more serious note, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. I try to read the Bible through every year and this year I might make it twice. That’s the only one I make it a point to read every year. The others, along with many more, I pick up when I feel like it every few years. Many of the Louis L’Amour books I have read several times, too. Even though I can sometimes remember favorite scenes or endings, I re-read them anyway.One of the most annoying things I have ever experienced however, is someone who gives away the good part of a book. Or tells you why Charles Foster Kane’s dying word was “Rosebud.” Or how a book ends. One annoying moment was when one of my older daughter’s friends was trying to interest me in reading the “Anne of Green Gables” series with them and her little sister says, “It’s really funny when Gilbert pulls one of Anne’s pigtails and calls her ‘carrots.'”
There are some other books that I think are important to read, that I think everyone should be required to read at least once or twice in their life, even if they hate it. Books that have such an important message they should never be forgotten. 1984 by George Orwell is one such book. I hate Orwell and was unhappy with the style and found him tedious many times but I also gained several important lessons and insights. The best advice I ever got about reading a book was with this one. Someone (I don’t remember who) told me not to read anything about it and to hide the last four words. Of course this would make a person want to jump to the end and look, but to me a book is an experience and I wanted to experience it all. I wrote about it back on January 20, 2005 if you are interested in my experience with that book. ( http://blog.herbthiel.com/1984-a-book-review-of-sorts/ )
So I was excited when I learned that daughter was going to have to read 1984 for a class. I had her ready and wanting to read the book. She even had a 3×5 card covering the last four words, just like I told her. Then she went to class and they told her everything. The whole story, even the last four words. “Dad, I don’t even want to read the book now. they have totally ruined it for me. I should have just stayed up all night and read it, now I can’t even get into it.” What a disappointment. They should have taken a different approach. Oh well. Now she knows what Winston Smith discovered at the end of the book. She will get through the class and be able to do the work, but it’s kind of a shame, just a same.
Remember, the Good Book says, “A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.”