Monday, December 9, 2013

Old Books and Old Friends

I have been to many parties recently where I have run into old friends. It seems the question I keep getting from my friends is:

 “What’s new?”

 They could just be making conversation, but I think they often want to know how my life has changed since they have last seen me. The answer that I have been giving is:

 “Honestly, not much. I still have the same job, I still go on lots of adventures and I still chill with quality peeps.”
 This is me on an adventure last Saturday with some old friends

The more I have thought about though, the more I realize that I have added a couple of things to my life the last six months or so. The first, which will not be address in this blog, is online deal shopping. The second is my discovery of audiobooks and becoming rededicated to reading.

The catalyst for all of this is actually an interesting one. At work I changed teams where I take phone calls half the day and the other half of the day I respond to instant message chats. Doing the chats is way better than the phones for several reasons. First, it is considerably less emotional taxing. Second, it isn’t nearly as busy. Most importantly, it doesn't require much concentration or my ears so I can listen to what I want.

Naturally when I started on this team I started watching everything on Netflix.  Then I ran out of good things to watch on Netflix. It turns out there aren't very many good movies on there and I didn't want to start anymore TV series. Eventually my old roommate changed his Netflix password, so then I had considerable amounts of downtime to fill. So I started reading. I have always loved reading. I definitely read in waves though. I go several months without reading then I will read a whole bunch in a few weeks. The big problem with reading was that I kept having to find my place and it is a little tedious. So, naturally I turned to the library for solutions.

I have listened to about 30 – 40 audiobooks since then. I have also read about 10 regular books (you know, the ones with words on pages). Since I started going through so many books I have decided that for every two new books I read I will read an old one. I have reread some favorites from childhood in addition to greats that I have enjoyed in the past few years.  I have also tried to add several non-fiction books into the mix to make sure that I was learning new things. It has been a great ride.

In my life I have always love new things, I think most of us do.  However, the lesson that I have learned once again is best put by this saying, “Make new friends but keep the old ones; one is silver and the other's gold”. I have always tried to reserve my Sunday evenings for keeping in touch with old friends. Sometimes I drop a friend’s apartment if I haven’t seen them in a while, or I will call an old friend on the phone. It is always good to keep in touch with old friends.

I have learned similar lessons about books. Reading a new book is fun and exciting, just like new friends. But reading an old book is like a warm blanket, it makes you feel content and happy. It is well worth devoting time to feeling feelings that made me feel alive as a youth, or enjoying a ride with a beloved character who feels just like an old friend.  I have recently once again joined my good friends on an adventure that I have never forgotten. Friends such as:  Ender and Bean, Theo and Mickle, Rina and Isi, Jack Ryan and John Kelly, Harry and Hermione. These old friends from old books have kept me occupied this autumn.

I love old friends and old books, but the more time I spend with both, the more I wonder; is there really a difference?
This is part of my birthday adventure when I listened to "Forest Born" again.
I do love my adventures with Rina-girl.


Jeff said...

I had gone several years without reading any old books, but this year I've been revisiting some greats. I agree. Old friends and old books are both fabulous.

Robyn said...

I love to read old books. You said it perfectly when they feel like a comfortable, warm blanket. I have read some of the same books every year to my students and I never tire of them. Charlotte and Wilber are some of my best friends.

Sadie said...

My favorite old books feel like some of my best friends too. My husband is a big audio book fan. He has similar taste in material so if you want recommendations let me know.

I'd like to get in the Sunday night chat rotation.