This isn’t something I set out to do, but was a result of my schooling. My high school English courses strayed from traditional readings for reasons of which I am unaware. The only books I remember learning were Animal Farm and Lord of the Flies. My freshman lit teacher thought it better to show us two film versions of Romeo & Juliet rather than have us actually read the play. Any other English courses I took tended to focus grammar and writing, and, if stories were taught, they were done so from a textbook. By the time I’d gotten to college, most of my instructors wanted to teach something modern or they assumed we’d gotten the classics from our high school classes.
Of course, my wife often reminds me that I could have read them on my own, but I’m going to be straight up honest for a moment: Most classics bore me to sleep. There, I said it. I feel so liberated. It would be great if I could revel in Mark Twain or Herman Melville, if I could sigh with romantic nostalgia when I heard mention of the Jane Austen, but sadly, I cannot. Any attempts I make to read these are often foiled by my sleepiness or plain and simple disinterest. Even modern authors like Faulkner and Hemingway often prove difficult for me to get through. Instead, I turn to bizarre writers like Chuck Palahniuk and Torsten Krol whose story construct is like that of a spiral. One event leads to another until the entire novel is one big hot mess of chaos. Sure, it’s no Shakespeare, but at least it keeps me up at night.
When I was in college and the lead-in question when meeting something was, What’s your major? I was often mistook as someone who loved reading. And I do, but I’m in no way prolific. In the past 3 years, I’ve only read about 33 books and started another five without finishing. The sad thing is, I’ll buy books while still having other books to read simply because I love having them around. I revel in a full bookshelf. Part of why I don’t read is because I write. Much of my free time throughout the day is sketching out ideas for stories or working on them. But another big part of it is that I’m straight up lazy.
Sure, I could read, or I could play Civilization V, which involves much less brain activity. But the first step to solving a problem is knowing it’s there, and since I have a history of being too lazy to read, I’d say I’m fully aware of it. The next step, though, is the difficult one. I mean, the French and the Aztecs have become an alliance and they’ve closed off their borders. I need gold if I want my economy to improve, but the Franco-Aztec alliance won’t share their resources. I can’t just pick up a book and do some light reading when I’ve got a foreign affairs dilemma that holds the economic survivability of my country in the balance.