As a youngster growing up in a small community, exposure to world events was relatively limited, maybe thankfully during the Cold War and the fear of the atomic bomb - outta sight; outta mind! However, thanks to the bookmobile from the Sidney library that routinely visited our grade school, we were somewhat exposed to outside thoughts and ideas via the books and magazines stacked inside the large vehicle; much better suited than the comic books we were reading!
Some of my favorite novels were 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne, the Iliad & Odyssey by Homer, Julius Caesar by Shakespeare, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. Of course, I read westerns, war stories, mysteries, sports and adventure books as well, such as Shane, the Hardy Boys, Call of the Wild, Grapes of Wrath, Lou Gehrig - Pride of the Yankees, The Longest Day, Robinson Crusoe, Robin Hood, Last of the Mohicans, just to name a few (my favorite comic books may be the focus of a future blog, who knows!).
Because the bookmobile came every week, it was always my goal to have the book read by its next visit, so I could get another one. The bookmobile driver was very knowledgeable, and would get a copy of any item requested by the next week’s visit. Occasionally, I'd check out a book about a saint, such as St. Patrick or St. Francis, that I was invariable late in returning because my Mother would always want to read it, too.
For several years during grade school, we had split classes; in other words, the same teacher taught two grades. That type of class structure was great because I had a chance to read while the teacher was providing lessons to the other grade. Whenever a movie came out about a book I had read, it was fun to see the movie and observe how the screenwriter depicted the book compared to my interpretation. And regarding magazines, Look, Time and any issue about sports were my favorites. I especially enjoyed the Normal Rockwell covers of Look magazine (example shown below that pretty much depicted me back in the day, except Mom would never let the dog in the house, let alone on my bed).
All this reading helped me later in life as my jobs at Ford involved comprehending lots of reports, technical research and detailed proposals. The volume of reading material became so large I actually took a speed reading class that interesting enough used the book Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien, supposedly the best selling novel ever written at 150 million copies. It, too, was made into a series of movies.
Now that I’m retired, my reading seems to be migrating to historical biographies, especially about Winston Churchill or US Presidents. So far, I’ve gotten about 2/3rd’s of the way through the list, reading them in no particular order, just as I run across them at the library. And books on CD are a listening favorite while driving. Plus now our local library has what seems like an unlimited downloadable on-line list of offerings that should keep me occupied and out from underfoot for a long while.