When old school is still better

by Todd Brooks

A person does not have to spend much time with me to realize I’m old school. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy and appreciate the ease and convenience of things like cell phones and internet access, but there is also a part of me that enjoys the physical just as much as the digital.

Take books for example. I would much rather hold a book in my hand than read it on my phone or computer. I have gone the digital book route before and I still do on occasion when practicality triumphs over preference. While I enjoy the digital books, it is just not the same. I feel similar about newspapers, otherwise I wouldn’t be doing what I do.

I used to be an avid reader then life got in the way. I started slacking off in that area as other things became more important or I simply got out of the habit. While my book reading was not dormant, it was sporadic at best, meaning I was reading only two or three books at most in a year. So, as 2022 approached, I made it a goal to read more.

I was able to do just that. Besides my daily Bible reading, I used to read just one book at a time, thinking with my limited mental capacity, it would be difficult for my brain to keep track of more than one book at a time.

I’m an early riser - though I’m still waiting for Ben Franklin’s “healthy, wealthy and wise,” that are supposed to go along with it. I like the peace and quiet of having some time to myself before the hustle and bustle of family and work life begin.

The first 30 minutes of my day, though, consists of letting various cats and the dog in and out of the house. They don’t always leave and come back at the same time, which is frustrating, though I suppose that can be a good thing. It allows me to get a cup of coffee and wake up before I settle in with my reading.

I’m a theology nerd. I love reading everything theology related, from the deep, thick, intensive books to the shorter, less intensive ones.

I decided in 2022 that I would change things up a bit and read more than one book at once and it proved to be beneficial. When I felt like I was getting bogged down in one, I would switch to another. It allowed me to prolong my reading experience for the day.

I had a backlog of unread books from a couple of my favorite authors, so I concentrated a lot of my reading time on them. More than half of the books I read were written by them. All except three books that I read were theological and two of those were Christian biographies.

As 2023 approached, I decided I was going to expand my reading and just try to read one book by any particular author. I also wanted to expand the genres I was reading to include fiction and more biographies. Now, halfway through March, I’ve been able to stick to that so far.

The fiction book I’m reading now is “Last of the Breed,” by the late, great Louis L’Amour. Sarah had it in her collection and it is one of her L’Amour favorites. When I saw it on the bookshelf, I couldn’t help but think of my dad as well. He, too, was a L’Amour fan. I remember him talking about this book being one of his favorites.
For whatever reason, I had never gotten into westerns that much, which is what L’Amour is most famous for. “Last of the Breed,” though, is a book set during the Cold War. I lived the Cold War, so it instantly appealed to me. Besides, it is considered a classic.

That is something else I want to do is read more of the classics I haven’t read, yet. I’m eyeing reading Tolkien’s “The Hobbit,” after I finish this one.

Most of my teenage years were spent reading science fiction thanks in large part, I’m sure, to the first Star Wars movie coming out when I was eight years old. I was hooked on science fiction.

When I was in high school and had an occasional sports-free Saturday, I would sometimes go to the bookstore first thing in the morning, buy a book and return to my dorm room and stay in my room all day reading the book from cover to cover.

I only came out of my room to go to the cafeteria for meals. There were days I did this when I would not speak to a single soul with the exception the bookstore clerk as I would then become a hermit for the rest of the day.

The days of being able to be anti-social and read all day are long gone as I now have a family and adult responsibilities. But, for a few hours every morning, I get to get a little taste of being that carefree teenager again.