Saturday, March 18, 2017

Reading, Writing and Arithmetic

One of the things I've regretted over the years is not taking time to do more reading and writing. My Dad ordered a series of Hardy Boy books for me and my brother John and Nancy Drew books for my sister Diana when we were little. Diana and I read them as fast as they came in. The next logical step was a series of classic books from Airmont Books. While we hungered for mystery, Charles Dickens, H.G. Wells, Jack London, etc didn't get our same attention. 

Sometime last year I decided to start reading all the books I had in my own library beginning with a biography of former New York Jets Quarterback Joe Namath that Diana had given to me. It was warts and all and I lost a lot of respect for Namath as I read how he took for granted his talents and what others had to offer him. 

I went through every book I had including several on writing and style. Best advice "Keep it simple stupid!" Finally on a visit to my Mom's I grabbed a fist full of the Airmont Books and to my surprise began enjoying the classics. So now you have the reading and writing in the title. Further evidence of the writing being this blog and how I used what I learned in the books on writing for my every day job as a news director for KFIZ radio station. 

As for the arithmetic that comes in several ways. I found that in addition to personal libraries and public ones, used books can be quite cheap. You can find them at used book stores, online, garage sales, even at St. Vinnie's. One other thing about arithmetic. My Dad was an accountant. He died in 1980 and I often think of him. Imagine my surprise when several of the Airmont Books I read I found a subtle, but loving reminder of my father. He used adding machine paper as bookmarks and I found it in two or three of the books. My Mom has more at her home. I wonder what other books may have those reminders in them.

Although I have a renewed appreciation for books I have to says that my favorites have always been biographies. Some recent books I've read have included a biography about Lombardi and autobiographies from Frank Deford and Charles Kuralt. All led fantastic lives, part success, part regret, but as human as you or I.

I've included a photo from the Kuralt book I recently finished now on to a Stephen King short story collection. But a few words about the Kuralt book first. His best stories about "A Life on the Road" were about the extraordinary people he met. So it was only fitting that when I opened up the book I found a dedication, not from Kuralt but from the person who had bought the book and given it to a favorite aunt for Christmas one year. From the few words I gathered there was a special connection between them. How appropriate given the book and author. I'm going to pay if forward and share it with someone I love.