Fandango’s Friday Flashback — January 3

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of you earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember?

Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.

How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 3rd) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.

This was originally posted on January 3, 2013 on my old blog.

Reading is Fundamental

6D858B2A-593D-49FF-A0C9-FBE09D6B6E32Here’s something few people know about me. I once was a voracious reader. Yeah, I know. Looking at how I spend my discretionary time these days, that’s hard to believe. I bet my own kids have never seen me pick up a book and read it unless it had something to do with my job.

Seriously, though, back in the day, when I was an avid reader, I immersed myself in suspense and conspiracy as I devoured books by authors such as Robert Ludlam and Ken Follett. James Clavell transported me to the intrigues of feudal Japan and the early days of Hong Kong, while James Michner guided me on exotic adventures across the globe spanning eons.

Robin Cook thrilled me with medical mysteries and John Gresham and Scott Turow got me all tangled up in legal shenanigans and courtroom chicanery. Stephen King and Dean Koontz sent chills of horror up and down my spine.

Philip Roth, JD Salinger, and John Irving helped me put into perspective the angst of growing up and the struggles and challenges of being a flawed human being. Issac Asimov, Ray Bradury, and Frank Herbert launched me through the time and space continuum to worlds beyond my imagination. And JRR Tolkein introduced me to Bilbo and Frodo Baggins and the Middle Earth.

During my reading days I would leverage the 30 to 60 minutes on the commuter trains each way between home and work to travel to far away places. On flights for business I would spend my time not only getting to my reality destination, but also being carried away to other times, other worlds, and even other identities. And rather than automatically turning on the TV each night, I would pick up a book and read myself to sleep. I typically got through maybe two to three novels a week back then.

Who Has Time to Read Fiction These Days?

But that was before myriad cable channels beckoned and DVRs turned us all into time-shifters. That was before the proliferation of laptops, netbooks, and tablets that you carry with you instead of leaving behind at the office or at home. That was before BlackBerrys, iPhones, and Android devices transformed us into always-connected workaholics or gossip-mongers needing to know what every one of our hundreds of “friends” is doing in real-time via our addictions to Facebook and Twitter.

Oh no! I forgot to “check in” at the place we ate dinner last night.

Now, as a telecommuter, I work from home, so I no longer have time to kill (and read) on commuter trains. When my job requires me to spend hours on an airplane, most of it is spent on my laptop, preparing for the meeting I’m about to attend, or documenting my notes from the one I just attended. Rather than picking up a book in my “down time” at home, I catch up on all of those TV shows we recorded on our DVR.

Reading for pleasure seems like a distant memory to me. And yet, in the far reaches of my mind, I have this vague recollection of delightful escapism when I sat down with a novel that transported me to times, places, and events far and wide; that introduced me to all kinds of wonderful (and sometimes not so wonderful, but certainly colorful) characters.

New Year’s Readolutions

As it’s that time of the year to make resolutions, I have decided to resolve to read no less than 24 books this year. A wide variety of books, but mostly novels of all kinds — historical, science fiction, fantasy, mystery, thrillers, humorous, whatever.

To that end, I downloaded the free Kindle app on my iPad and, being the cheap son-of-a-bitch that I am, immediately went to the “free books” section.

I “bought” two books, Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables and a murder mystery by an author I’d never previously heard of, L.L. Bartlett, called Murder on the Mind.

I admit that I could barely make it through the first few pages of Hugo’s sweeping novel that served as the inspiration for my favorite stage musical. I decided to shift gears and try something a little less formidable for my initial reentry into reading for fun, and the Bartlett novel was perfect…a quick, engaging read.

So let’s see if I can manage to read at least two books a month this new year. I’m feeling pretty confident. And maybe I’ll even be able to get through Les Mis before the year is over.

29 thoughts on “Fandango’s Friday Flashback — January 3

  1. Stroke Survivor UK January 3, 2020 / 3:44 am

    I miss reading. I used to read lots too, but not really fiction. Paper is uncomfortable on my eves now. Kindle do-able, but mostly rely on Audible.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marilyn Armstrong January 3, 2020 / 1:16 pm

      Audible is my saving grace! And I read dozens of books — usually at night, in bed. One kindle, one good bluetooth speaker. Heaven.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. annieasksyou January 3, 2020 / 6:02 am

    This is such a thoughtful post (also long for you—you’re approaching my verbosity!). I enjoyed your moving through the genres and giving examples. Did you make your goal of 24?

    I read at night on a Kindle, and I do tend to drop off…

    Here’s my post from last year. It was the third of what I’d planned as a two-part series: “How Do We Talk About Race in America?,” which actually became 4 parts. It really relies on the link to the original Op-Art, which still appears if you click. Ironically, I just learned that 2020 is “The Year of the Rat.”

    How are you feeling? Hope recovery is swift.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango January 3, 2020 / 11:14 pm

      I did meet my goal, although I was never able to get through “Les Misérables.” I’m feeling okay, thanks, although I’m disappointed that the surgery, which went well in terms of removing the mass, did not restore my hearing. Oh well, you can’t always get what you want, I suppose.


    • Fandango January 3, 2020 / 11:18 pm

      I do, but still not as much as I’d like to. I’m probably at 6-10 books a year these days.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango January 3, 2020 / 11:25 pm

      I did hit my goal of 24 books that year, but these days I’ve slipped back to between 6-10. Less this past year because I was spending so damn much time watching cable news.


  3. shail January 3, 2020 / 9:38 am

    I remember being a voracious reader too. Most of the authors you mention are so familiar. A year back I averaged one book a week. That’s the closest I got to a spectacular return to the old glory. I hope to replicate the same in 2020. 🙂
    Here’s a link to a post from 2012:

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango January 3, 2020 / 11:44 pm

      One book a week. THAT is impressive!


    • Fandango January 4, 2020 / 12:03 am

      I remember thinking when I read the original that I wanted to try that, but I forgot. Now that you’ve posted it again, you’ve given me a second chance to try to savor that delectable sandwich. Thanks!


  4. Marilyn Armstrong January 3, 2020 / 1:14 pm

    Garry can only read a little bit, then his eyes start to go. I can’t read a lot of print either, but audiobooks are wonderful. Aside from being like movies for your brain, they also slow down my reading to a point where I hear the whole text. I used to read so fast, I missed more than I absorbed!

    Audiobooks were originally so I could survive my commutes — but now, they really ARE how I read. I can lie in bed at night and set the timer for anywhere from five minutes, to an hour, or to the end of the chapter. And if I fall asleep too soon, I can back up to the last place I remember. And all the pictures are perfect because my brain creates them 😀

    I admit I don’t miss the weighty books or finding a comfortable position in bed to read. And never needing a nightlight!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango January 4, 2020 / 12:04 am

      I’ve never tried an audiobook, but I’m thinking maybe I should.


    • Marleen January 4, 2020 / 9:40 am

      I remember a lot of inspiring-type posters being popular in the seventies. I don’t think I’ve seen this one before. It’s certainly worth reading.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Jen Goldie January 4, 2020 / 10:28 am

        The 60’s and early 70’s were poster time. Black lights were popular. Gave the poster a glow. Desiderata was very popular given the times. The Mantra make love not war. Peace marches etc. Peace symbols everywhere. It was HIPPIE TIME. Those times seem to repeating again.History LOL It seems that young people have become jaded and disillusioned, even hopeless. Desiderata is a reminder for us all (the world) to want better times and like the young people of those times, to do something about it, or try to.
        I suggest everyone post it on their Blogs. Why not? It’s not revolutionary.

        “Desiderata” (Latin: “things desired”) is an early 1920s prose poem by the American writer Max Ehrmann. Although he copyrighted it in 1927, he distributed copies of it without a required copyright notice during 1933 and c. 1942, thereby forfeiting his US copyright. Largely unknown in the author’s lifetime, its use in devotional and spoken word recordings in 1960 and 1971 called it to the attention of the world.

        Liked by 1 person

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