Reading

Reading has always been an important activity for me. Whether it has been comics or research articles about motivation or self-efficacy, I’ve been interested in learning through reading. I’m guessing it started before my family moved to Williamsburg, but once we got there things really picked up for me. My father is a big reader. He’s kind of like my dog who doesn’t really chew his food, except my father is that way with words. He gobbles them up in big chunks and speeds through whatever he is reading, which was mostly westerns and science fiction. My mother, on the other hand, seemed more interested in spy stories, the newspaper, Time, and People.

I took a little from both of them, books and magazines. It was in school, though, that I learned to love reading research articles. Credit for that goes to Charles I. Dubay, a biology teacher back in high school. In his class, we would ride the rusted out little bus to Swem Library at William and Mary to do research on our “wet biology” projects. The skills he taught us about reading the important parts of the article probably had more to due with me surviving my doctoral program than anything. It wasn’t that he taught us the intricacies of research design or statistical interpretation, but he taught us how to find the interesting parts of studies, the wishy-washy words, and the over generalizations.

So, from my parents and my teachers, I was taught to read for enjoyment and education. Somewhere along the line the two became one and I suppose I read for “enjoyducation” (Shakespeare made up words…). Of course I’m no Bard, but high school allowed me the opportunity to grow through those plays and sonnets. I didn’t know it then, but I began to admit that I liked Shakespeare once I hit my thirties. Thanks Mrs. Fuchs and Mr. Poland…

Some other Williamsburg reading highlights:

Channeling Carrie Mae Weems…

1. The Summer of Biographies (Sixth into Seventh grade): Dizzy Dean, Malcolm X, MLK, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Gandhi, Houdini, Nellie Bly, The Wright Brothers

2. Hanging at the Williamsburg Library: The section with a comics anthologies and horror movie books were awesome. I think I also learned to spread out my research materials on a big table there.

3. The Virginia Gazette: What was the complaining section of the paper called?

4. Bruton Heights: The library was always the back up “morning special” when I couldn’t get a gym pass. It was also good for a copy of the “Great Brain” series.

5. The Lafayette Ledger: Anything Than Axtell wrote, especially his story about being an extra in The George Washington Story.

All these years later I find myself returning to books. Television kind of took away my reading interests for awhile, but this I committed to reading much more. There have been more hits than misses, Flannery O’Connor and Sally Mann being the biggest hits. Sometimes I’m on the iPad reading (a Stephen King memoir right now), but mostly I’ve stuck to books as the library is so much cheaper than iTunes or Amazon. I also regularly read a photography magazine and the New Times,
so with this collection of books and rags I must truly be my parents’ son.