Admitting to a reading addiction | News, Sports, Jobs

Are you a reader?

I may have asked that question of you before.

Just to make it clear, I have to admit to a lifelong addiction to reading that started when I was just a very young child.

I remember my parents having to repeatedly come into my bedroom at midnight or later to make me turn off the light and quit reading and go to sleep.

And, I remember the family cross-country trips and my mother making me put down the book I was reading and look out the car window at the beautiful scenery going by. I would do that for a minute or two, then it was back to the book.

I remember one summer, when I was maybe 12, my parents made me leave all my friends in San Diego and we lived all summer in Navy housing on Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, California. Luckily there was a library on the base and I could check out all the books I wanted.

I’m pretty sure I read every single Hardy Boys book ever written, and there are a lot of them.

I also might have to admit that I majored in English in college just so I could take a bunch of literature classes and read a bunch of books.

I have admitted before that my favorite thing about vacations is getting a chance to catch up on my reading list, and finish a couple of books. My wife now insists I only pack paperbacks and not huge hardcover books in the suitcase.

Luckily, I married someone who is as much, or more, of a reader than I am.

I am sometimes a little bit amazed that there are a lot of fellow book-reading addicts out there in this modern world. You know, what with the busy lives we live these days, and all of the modern electronic devices we have to look at and the thousands of TV channels and streaming services to watch.

Of course, some book addicts read their novel choices on electronic devices these days. I have tried that a time or two, but I keep coming back to that actual paper version.

Another thing that has always amazed me is the public library. Ever since my experience at the Mare Island Naval Base library, I have been utterly surprised there are these places that let you take a book home for free, and read it, then get another and another one whenever you want.

What a deal. A place that can feed my book-reading addiction and it doesn’t cost me a dime. Or I can use a computer for free there. Or check out a movie, or use the free Wi-Fi, or, well, you get the idea. You can even read area newspapers like the Faribault County Register for free (but I still strongly advise you to get your own subscription because you don’t want to miss a single issue!).

As a report given to the Blue Earth City Council last week by librarian Eva Gaydon shows, lots of folks are smart enough to take advantage of all these free services. Even during a pandemic, or perhaps because of it, the numbers at the Blue Earth Community Library and Fossil Discovery Center were pretty high in 2021.

For instance, would you believe that in 2021 there were 18,674 books and magazines borrowed by folks at the Blue Earth Library?

Then you can add in the 2,491 eBooks and eAudio tapes borrowed, 3,228 DVDs, 1,588 CD audio books and 56 music CDs.

Then there is the fact that there were 1,790 computer users during the year and, get this, 39,929 Wi-Fi sessions.

And all of that is just at the Blue Earth library, during a year when there were shortened hours of operation. My guess is that other libraries are also very busy, which is sure an encouraging thing for our society.

I guess I am a little shocked, but pleased, that there are so many other fellow readers out there in the world.

And while I am shamelessly plugging our local libraries, let me remind you that the Blue Earth Area Reads program is underway. You can pick up a copy of this year’s selection, “The Woman They Could Not Silence” by Kate Moore. It is free, of course.

The book’s story is set in the 1860s and is about a married woman who expressed her ideas and opinions, and her husband had her sent to an insane asylum because of it.

After you read it, you can share the book with others, then join in some community events to discuss the book and even attend a free virtual visit by the author that will happen on Monday, April 11 at 6 pm

Get more information at the Blue Earth, Winnebago or Elmore libraries, or check out the Register’s web page to read the story about BEA Reads, written by our reporter Fiona Green, who, by the way, is a bigger book-reading addict than I am.

So, read any good books lately?

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