December 31, 2009

Reading fiction

For the first time that I can remember in my life, I’m reading fiction of my own free will. I’ve a prolific reader, I love reading, but I always read with a purpose and I see little purpose to reading fantasy. I’ve always been this way.

I remember at age 8, my grade two teacher assigned a book report project. The class went to the library to pick out a small book. I managed to sneak away into the section of the library dedicated to the middle school teenagers (grades 6 –8) and I found a gigantic *National Geographic *book about The Solar System. It was huge, I could barely carry it. I was told to get a book from the children’s section instead. I refused and eventually I was allowed to sign out this non-fiction tome.

I remember reading it and the enjoyment I received from doing so. The book was 284 pages and entitled National Geographic’s Picture Atlas to Our Universe. I learned a lot reading those pages and felt pretty smart afterwards.

This continued for the rest of my elementary and secondary education. If I could get away with ditching a fiction book for non-fiction I would. I never bothered to do much with fiction, when forced to read it, I only did so because it was a requirement and only did a minimal book report in the end.

Near the end of high school, I did read some *Star Wars *science fiction. I found books by Timothy Zahn to be engaging and I always buy *Star Wars *books written by him. Of course, that’s not the kind of fiction that one can use as a cultural reference or to engage in small talk conversation.

This last year as been transformative for me; mind you, each year is transformative. This year has been more transformative than the last few for many reasons. Culturally, this year marked my first trip as an adult overseas. I travelled to Doha, Qatar twice. What an experience. (This will be a later blog post) I also went to my first Canadian Opera Company performance.

This had a profound impact. Basically, I was completely resistant to the idea of going to the Opera. I only went because I felt trapped into going and I wanted to be able to say “been there, tried it, hated it, leave me alone.”

I was shocked to discover that I really enjoyed the opera; so much that I make a point of going to the opera whenever the opportunity presents itself. The fact that I’ve enjoyed the opera has resulted in me experimenting with other forms of culture. I’ve been to a few art galleries and art crawls. Can’t say I’m a fan of the galleries, but I definitely enjoy the crawls.

Now, I’m reading a book of fiction. The book, Lullabies for Little Criminals, was a finalist for a Governor General’s Literary Award and the 2007 winner of CBC’s Canada Reads. I’ve only read the first chapter so far. After three chapters, I hope to write something on my personal blog.

I haven’t enjoyed the first chapter and I look at my academic textbooks wondering if I’m wasting my time on this fiction venture. I know I’ll finish this fiction book, if I don’t @nursekama will be disappointed in me. I’m reading the book at the same time as her and we’re supposed to discuss it on a regular basis.

Thanks @nursekama! You making me still to my goal of becoming a culturally informed person.