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The Immeasurable Pleasure of Reading Books

There is something special about getting back into reading good old dead tree style books again. Over the last year or two I’ve been reading a couple of fiction novels every month and I like to have a non-fiction book on the go at the same time just to keep my mind in the real world. I’m not saying you need to read books… but you might find it’s more enjoyable than when you were younger.

My reading history was pretty sparse before my very late teens. Whatever the school curriculum put in my lap was about the limit of my experience – The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Rusty, Pygmalion, Lord of the Flies. I read a couple of non-fiction books about the sinking of the Bismark and the life of the gangster Joey Gallo just after high school and then a really good trashy pulp fiction sci-fi called Jack of Shadows (and I still recommend that one).

In my 20s I read at least three or four and sometimes five books a week – thrillers, horror, adventure, fantasy. I read broadly, including Oriental mysticism and books like the Carlos Castaneda series about his alleged apprenticeship with the sorcerer Don Juan. I’d hang on the equally dubious Tuesday Lobsang Rampa books reading them in correct order. I read about mercenaries and politics and history. It was a time in my life where I had all the time in the World for reading any sort of book the public library could offer. And I appreciate the depth of conversation that I can have today partly because of all that reading.

My 30s were mostly book free. In my 40s I read a lot of text books that were dry and force fed through two university degrees (Bachelor of Computing and an MBA). I read a novel or two a year and for a couple of years I remember scouring Atomic magazine from start to finish like it was a couch ritual. Note to self: reading can distance you from people in your life, be careful not to become a stranger to those around you.

Through my 40s I also read a lot about photography and science and web development (coding, information management, relevant to my field). The lesson I learned along that journey was my revulsion for online reading. Mailing lists are like having your real teeth pulled by a barber. E-books and web content can go suck eggs compared to owning or borrowing a real book made of dead tree.

Now, in my 50s, I’m back to reading for the enjoyment of reading and it’s pretty much dead tree books all the way. Crime authors like Stuart McBride and Jo Nesbo, the newer Stephen King books, and pretty much anything that catches my eye. I own nearly 20 brewing books covering everything from the basics to brewing history to brewing chemistry. A man’s got to have a hobby, after all. I couldn’t imagine not reading again.

The difficult part was starting to read again. Without looking at Twitter and Facebook. Without checking my phone. It took a while before I could just sit there and read undisturbed by the new thought patters that govern our modern existence. But when you get in there again, it’s worth the effort. We all know real books are better… you can even swat flies with them if required. What we forget is the pleasure those books gave us. And can give us again. I’d recommend you go buy a book. And read.

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark and I live in the Derwent Valley in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a mazer & a yeast farmer (making beer, fruit wine and mead as by-products of continuous improvement in my farming practices). I'm a photographer, although my film cameras are currently silent. I do not tolerate idiots. I do not tolerate bigotry. I do not tolerate excuses. Let's be clear, if you sit with my enemies you my are my enemy for life.

Blogger. Thinker. Brewer. Drinker. Life partner to the amazing and incredible Megan.

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