How many books from Rowan’s Public Library have you read? If you ever wanderedbrowsed and looked at the stacks of books there, you know it’s an impossible task to read even a small part of them in a lifetime.
As I browsed through some of the material on offer in the eight floors of the Davis Library in Chapel Hill, I remember thinking how futile it would be to try to read all the works that these authors over the years had devoted to them. You quickly realize that there’s no way to go through all of these books, so how do you choose which ones are worthwhile?
It certainly demoralized me when I thought of all there was to know and that I would never be able to understand even a tiny part of what was written in all those pages.
Of course, you have to read some things required by teachers or professors, but what about all the other options available?
Nowadays, people don’t read books like they used to because there is so much information available in the palm of your hand. And instead of choosing to fight through “War and Peace”, it’s much easier to skim through the short snippets of information you can easily absorb, then move on.
But I still like to read a good book once in a while, usually on rare beach vacations or sometimes when I’m not stuck at the computer staring at words for eight or more hours a day at work.
And I’m not likely to choose something that’s going to make me a wiser man, but maybe something that’s just different enough from the other material I read all day that it can capture my imagination. and hopefully let her loose.
I don’t often find myself perusing something the length of a novel for the second time, but I picked up my old copy of “Big Red” not too long ago and perused it a few decades after the first time. I finished it. I remember thinking that the story of a boy and his dog was exactly what could keep my interest as an adult as easily as when I was a boy myself. But it certainly read a little differently the second time around than when I was younger.
I’ve realized over the years that we don’t need to read every book in the library to have a well-rounded knowledge base. And no matter how much you know, or think you know, you don’t know everything. And there is always something new to discover, whether in written records or through life experiences.
That’s what I always try to tell myself, even though it was said that by coming to work in a newspaper, you’d learn something new every day — but forget two things you already knew. Unfortunately, I’m starting to think that’s more true than not as I try to remember the names or titles of songs that instantly came to mind.
Now some of those brain binders get stuck a little easier each year I get older.
I know the hardware is in there, I just can’t get that instant snooze button to work when I need it. But I’m not going to stop trying to find something new every day, and if there’s a box of WD 40 that works on brain cells, let me know.
Paris Goodnight is editor of the Salisbury Post.