Tuesday, April 21, 2015
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My husband is a self-professed non-reader--in the English teacher, book lover, bibliophile sense of the word reader.
In the nineteen years we've known each other, he has read only a few books. A couple of years ago his doctor recommend he read Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything. I ordered the book, and Ken is still reading it--periodically and reluctantly. It is taking him a very long time to read Bryson's Short History. I've tried to get Ken to abandon the book because I know he's not enjoying it. He has repeatedly refused.
When I left for Europe last month, I handed Ken a copy of The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown. Ken has one chapter left in the book as I write this. I'm sure he'll finish reading this evening.
Throughout his reading journey, Ken has adopted some of my reading habits: He stops to tell me something interesting, to share his thoughts about the story, to comment on important moments in history that matter to him.
Last night I asked Ken what about the book appeals to him:
"The underdog story. There's one guy who was kicked out of his home when he was 15 and his father remarried. Specifically, it's about one member and how they work together as a team. It's interesting because you see how hard a couple of these kids work to get their education. One guy is living in a room at the YMCA and barely has enough money to pay for his education. Some have summer jobs and get paid very little for working very hard."
When a reporter bumped a hole in the boat with his head right before the Olympic trials, Ken was outraged. I'll not repeat his string of expletives, but his response was as passionate as any I've heard.
Ken will reach the end of The Boys in the Boat today, and even though he thinks of himself as a non-reader, I know there's a reader of professional literature, trade publications, reports, newspapers, etc. living inside my intelligent, perfectionist husband; he just needs to find the right reading journeys that lead him to the finish line.
*The next book I have for Ken to read is Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. I think he's ready for this epic reading journey.