Sunday, April 12, 2015

Quality or Quantity

Originally published in the Miami News-Record, February 22, 2015

I was reading before I entered Kindergarten. Not that my mom pushed me to be some kind of child prodigy, but (and this is conjecture since I really don’t remember what went through my five-year-old brain) I’m thinking I was just tired of not knowing what was going on around me and decided to learn how to read so I could butt into grownup conversations and whatnot.

The summer between 1st and 2nd grade Mom brought home a ton of Bobbsey Twins books and discovered all too quickly that I could plow through one of those in under two hours. It wasn’t long before she had to start rationing them out. I’m sure she tried to bargain with me – an hour of outside time in exchange for a new book perhaps – but I’m sure I didn’t bite. I hated the outdoors and would rather read my old already-read books rather than trade a new one for sunshine.  She eventually handed me the stack and told me to have fun. By the end of 2nd grade I had read nearly the entire Little House on the Prairie series. It wasn’t but a few years later that I developed a taste for the fantasy and sci-fi genres and read and re-read A Wrinkle in Time and its companions many times over before I even hit 5th grade.

I devoured all of the Harry Potter books and I’ve written here before about my love for nearly all of Stephen King’s works. I tried The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit, but they were just too wordy for even me, a lover of words. (Oh, my, but I do love the movies!) I’ve read Beowulf, The Canterbury Tales (both of those I bought to read again on my own after we read them in Senior English), Silas Marner, Little Women, Fahrenheit 451, Animal Farm, and countless other classics. When we were newlyweds, before we became homeowners, we moved a lot. My husband once offered me $1000 if I’d just let him leave all of my books behind in our apartment. I said no. We took them with us and just paid his chiropractor bill.

I’ve read a LOT of really good books over the years. I’ve read a few bad ones, but not many. See, I have this credo: Life’s too short to read bad books. So if they don’t hook me, they aren’t read. If they are poorly written, they aren’t read. If they are drivel, they aren’t read.

So no, I have not read Fifty Shades of Grey nor any of its sequels. And I don’t plan to. Ever.
I won’t launch into a tirade about values and abuse. I won’t give my opinion on sex outside of marriage. And I’ll tell you how any scenario with me wearing a blindfold would go: I am horrible at pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey because when I am blindfolded I get horribly dizzy and I fall. There would be no fun and games for a blindfolded me – probably only an ER visit for some anti-nausea medication and perhaps a broken hip.

All that being said, I will not be reading the aforementioned books because I hear they are more poorly written than Twilight and I ONLY read those because at the time I had a teen who had been bitten by the vampire bug (see what I did there?) and I wasn’t about to let her read them without subjecting myself to them first. Talk about needing anti-nausea medication. I took one for the team there, but I won’t be embarking on a journey into a monochromatic world where the one of the character’s eyes “smolder like embers”. If someone’s eyes are smoldering, I’m grabbing a fire extinguisher and calling 911 because that, folks, is not healthy.

And if I want to experience fifty shades of grey, I’ll just look in the mirror at my hair.    

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