Archived Story

John Jarpe: Take time to read a book

Published 6:53pm Wednesday, November 6, 2013

I was at a meeting last week and the facilitator did an “icebreaker” activity to get us all going.

He asked three questions, and we went around the group and shared our answers:

1. What’s the most interesting place you’ve ever been?

2. What’s your favorite restaurant?

3. What’s the last book you read for enjoyment?

Group members shared places from Hawaii to Europe to national parks and New York City for answers to the first question. Two local places, — Hacienda and Pete’s Patio — got mentioned for number two. When we shared answers to the third question, it was a surprise — several people stated that they don’t have time anymore to read for pleasure.

I had to reach back to a book I read this summer, “The Last Great Gunfight,” a historical book about the gunfight at the OK Corral, when Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday shot it out with the Clantons in Tombstone, Arizona in 1881. I realized I read that book in August. I was disappointed in myself, since I have always had a book going, even when I was in college. I do read two newspapers a day and two-to-three magazines a week, but I haven’t picked up a book and read it through in several months. Maybe it’s the internet, or maybe it’s social media, or that old culprit, TV, that compete with the time we have for reading for pleasure.

Multitasking, where someone can watch TV while holding a smart phone, is a big draw for our attention. You can’t do all of these other activities while reading a book. Maybe it’s time we all slow down some in our time away from work and read more for fun.

I know it’s a goal of mine after that wake-up call I got last week.

John Jarpe is the superintendent at Brandywine Community Schools in Niles.

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