Time to Read

Due to jury duty, I have been able to enjoy reading several books this week. During summer breaks as a kid I often read two books a week. Reading all day and into the wee hours of the morning was a summertime pleasure.

My parents got rid of the family TV when I was eight. It was an old television and the sound went out. My sisters and I continued to watch our favorite programs despite the lack of sound, so...my parents decided the TV needed to go.

We were heartbroken. My younger sister and I offered to buy a TV with our own money (a big offer in elementary school) and keep it in our room. Mom said no.

The first few months were rough. My younger sisters and I were so used to the TV filling our time that we were not adept at entertaining ourselves.

After the first months, we enjoyed being TV-less. We developed elaborate Barbie games with houses we built ourselves out of blocks, we played dress up almost every day, we climbed trees, played in our sandbox, and swung on our backyard swing set for hours.

Another result of growing up without a TV is that we all learned to read, very well. My sisters and I were always above the typical reading level for our grade - simply because we could not fill our spare time with a TV.

My love for reading led me to major in English. Reading came naturally to me. Unfortunately by the end of college, I was sick of reading.

It took several years and many paperbacks to enjoy reading again. Now I love it. I'm busier than I was during summertime as a child, but I was able to read this week.

I would highly recommend two of the books I read this week.
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Jane Eyre is a beautifully written, romantic, classic novel that gets better with every read.

  • The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. The Lightning Thief is about a 12 year old boy who discovers his father is a Greek god. Literally. This is a quick and thoroughly enjoyable read.
I do not regret growing up without a television. Yes, I missed the references to Friends, Seinfeld, and Saturday Night Live. But I did not really miss anything.

As entertaining as TV can be, I cannot imagine life without books. While I do not even have a passport, I can visualize so many countries just because I have read books about them.

Jury duty may be boring, but it is an excellent time to catch up on summer reading. If only I had more opportunities to practice civic obligations in such an enjoyable manner.

Photos from msnbc.com and University of Hong Kong.