According to Twitter, it’s national #ReadaBookDay, which is what we do around here on a regular basis. (So do you, or you wouldn’t be here.) At first, I thought the hashtag said “ReadaBookaDay,” which would be really hard, unless you didn’t have to work, or reading was your work. The closest I ever came to that Nirvana was in a speed-reading class I took in high school. Yes, there really was such a class to take, and it was taught by a stunningly-beautiful young woman whose name I’ve completely forgotten. (My memory lapse depresses me, because I remember my teachers.) I do remember some of the books I read in that class: Robert Merle’s fine science-fiction novel, The Day of the Dolphin; Kenneth O’Donnell & Dave Powers’ affectionate memoir of President Kennedy, Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye; and Carlos Castenada’s The Teachings of Don Juan. I must go back to that last one someday soon. Being a callow youth, and one overly-driven by my hormones (see “stunningly-beautiful young woman,” above), I dismissed Castenada too quickly as a counter-culture eccentric. He’s not (or, he wasn’t). Much of what he has to say about the everyday life of a warrior later informed the work of essayist George Leonard, who made me believe in the values and virtues of a warrior’s life.
A great many people manage to read at least a book a week, sometimes more. That means they don’t watch much TV, or hang around reading blogs. But it doesn’t mean they’re cut off from the world. On the contrary, they’re clued-in to the “news that stays news,” the things that truly matter. That’s the kind of life the bookish man or woman aims to live, and every step we can take toward it is a means of increasing our happiness as the days go by.