When is the last time you opened a book (paper or virtual on an e-reader)? If you can’t remember the last time you read a book, let me ask you this: What is your favorite book? Do you have a favorite? What is it and why?
If I had to name only one book as my favorite (and that really is a cruel thing to do to an avid reader) I would pick The Phantom Tollboth. This is one of the first books I have memory of reading by myself and it is a book that has been in my personal library for more than 40 years! The Phantom Tollbooth has survived many cullings of the bookshelf. It has moved with me several times.
The Phantom Tollbooth gives me a warm feeling inside when i think of Milo, who is always so bored, coming home to a surprise in his bedroom. A car and a tollbooth. Once he crosses through the tollbooth he has amazing adventures!
It’s my love of words, though that I think makes this book a keeper. Milo travels Beyond Expectations into Dictionopolis. Along the way Milo loses his boredom, regains his joy in life, makes friends and learns lessons that he keeps with him forever. Milo fights his way through the Doldrums, meets up with a Watchdog and travels on his adventures.
It was one of the grandest adventures I could ever imagine going on, when I was a young, avid reader. I followed along on the map in front of the book to see where Milo was headed. Every time I flipped to the last page when Milo arrived back home. He thought he’d like to go on another adventure, but realized he had adventure at his fingertips right in the books on his shelves. Sigh. I get nostalgic every time I pick up my taped together, water and coffee-stained copy.
I am hoping my grandson, Atlas, will come to love this book as much as I did and that he will carry my 40+ year old copy along with him into his life.
Why big idea people need to read books
Escapism. Sometimes being an entrepreneur is just plain hard. Reading is a great way to recharge your batteries.
It’s just a great way to learn how to put sentences together. Reading from a great book will show you both great sentences as well as horrible writing. Not to make anyone angry here, but 50 Shades of Grey was THE worst writing I ever read. I made it through about fifty pages before I couldn’t take any more. If I ever hear the word “clamber” again in my life it will be too soon.
Reading, whether you re-read a favorite book or pick up a best seller or are lured into trying a new author because the cover captures your attention, you can release endorphins by immersing yourself in the actions and adventures of the characters in the book.
It sparks new ideas. Even though I have read The Phantom Tollbooth — oh, I don’t know, about 45 times — I still come across a turn of phrase, an idea or when I look at the drawings in the book it helps me with my own fiction.
You’re a more well-rounded person when you read. I admit I am not “well-read” in the sense that I have not read Dickens or Heminway. I have read Steinbeck, but give me Stephen King any day of the week. I want to say I have read Jane Austen. I tried. It was not a joy, so I stopped. When I read, I want joy. I want fun. I want to escape. Don’t ask me to explain Tolstoy… I can’t.
I read every day. I read the newspaper in the morning. I read a few pages in a magazine at lunch. After dinner, when the television is playing in the background I pick up my e-reader or a book I’ve checked out of the library and I read.
There have been many books I have checked out of the library because someone said, “you just have to read this!” If I am not captured in the first few pages… maybe a few chapters, I will put the book down. Life is too short and my bookshelves are too full to read a book that doesn’t draw me in.
After all, if I can’t find anything else to read I will turn back to my tattered copy of The Phantom Tollbooth and lose myself in Milo’s exploration of the Mountains of Ignorance and the black-hearted demons that dwell within.
What is your favorite piece of fiction? Do you have a go-to book?
When is the last time you’ve lost yourself in the pages of a well-written novel?