I’m not an avid book reader. Never have been.
I wish I was. I’ve bought many books I have yet to read.
My wife and daughters are always reading. My dad often read three or four books at a time. We still have most of his books.
So, with school wrapped up for the summer and my kids pondering their summer reading list, I decided to make book reading a habit. At least I’m going to try. And with a little vacation to visit family in Iowa and Minnesota, what better time to start?
But what to read? I didn’t want to pack too many books for the trip. That would be silly. And I wanted to read – and hopefully enjoy – what I packed. That, for me, would be success and hopefully kick my hoped-for reading habit off in the right direction.
I settled on a pair of short books by Richard Bach. Jonathan Livingston Seagull and Out Of My Mind made the cut. I’m glad they did. While I enjoyed Jonathan, it was Out Of My Mind that really spoke to me.
I’ve read both before, but it was more than a decade ago for the latter and longer yet the former. As I opened up Out Of My Mind, I believe I read it the first time just so I could say I read it. Not this time.
Seated in seat 33C on the Seattle to Minneapolis leg of our journey to Des Moines, I settled into Out Of My Mind. As the distant memory of reading this book came to mind, I cast it aside. I wanted this to be a new experience.
As the pages flew by, I often grinned at the imagery Bach put in my head. This new habit is starting well. And then the sequence that sealed it for me came into view.
Derek Hawthorne is escorting Richard Bach on a tour of the Saunders-Vixen Aircraft Company, Limited…
“He [Derek] turned to me, earnest to explain. ‘The design exists, Richard, the possibility of just this combination of elements in just these relationships, the design for this machine existed at the very instant that spacetime began.’”
The passage continues – about naming and ownership – but I was most interested in the genesis of the design.
A few pages on as Richard seeks to understand what he is looking at, Derek says…
“Do use the word discovered, would you? Invented, well, it seems so proprietary, somehow. The design has always been there.”
“The design has always been there.” So too has the story – any story – I suppose.
Being part of a team that is constantly thinking – or inventing – stories to write, this sentence was liberating. In Bach nomenclature, stories, like design, have existed since “spacetime” began. So let’s “discover” and share them.
If forced to rank them, I’d tell you I enjoyed Out Of My Mind more than Jonathan Livingston Seagull. But that’s like saying I enjoy vanilla more than mint chocolate chip ice cream. I love them both but, given the circumstances, I preferred one over the other.
So, I’ve enjoyed a little early success in this new habit of mine. Up next is The Wright Brothers biography by David McCullough. A new title I’m anxious to get into.
What about you? Do you have a favorite? I’m open to suggestions.