I have a lot of books. One entire room in my house (as well as a large case in my man cave) is dedicated to books. My Goodreads account lists over 1200 read titles, and my Twitter handle is @bookwormjeff (feel free to add me on either platform). When I was a child, I read through the entire World Book Encyclopedia (1977 version). With a 8-year-older-brother and a not-too-close-back-then-younger-sister, books were my constant companion in my youth. Since books were a lot safer than video games in my parents’ eyes, they encouraged me to read as much as I desired. Weekly trips to the local library (an architectural treasure designed by Frank Lloyd Wright) along with semi-regular trips to the local Crown Books as rewards for good grades further fueled my fire. I often took books to the dinner table, more engrossed in the pages than in whatever discussions my family had.
Trips to the bookstore are very dangerous for me. Though I like to gamble, I can walk into a casino without putting down a bet; I enjoy alcohol, but can resist an adult beverage if I have to drive home or get somewhere in the morning. But it’s very difficult to walk by a bookstore without making a purchase. Even today, I attended a sports collector’s show in my town. I didn’t buy any baseball cards or autographed memorabilia (though I did find a Willie Mays bobblehead that I’ve been missing from my collection). I mostly bought a bunch of sports books and magazines. My favorite find of the day was a May 1995 copy of Physics Today; Jim Palmer is on the cover, with the title article “The Physics of Baseball.” And for only $1.00!
When I was in college, I read a lot more books for pleasure than I did for my degree. After I graduated, I spent even more time reading, since I could focus on what I wanted to study versus what my professors wanted from me. This continued on for years, until I started working at the Store. 6-day and 70-hour weeks sucked the life out of me, and my desire to read sank like an anchor in the ocean. Coming home after 12 hours away, I only had enough energy to eat dinner and watch some TV. Except for a few easy-to-read YA titles, I didn’t pick up a book for a good part of 4 years.
During my unemployment time, I starting catching up for lost time. In those 3 months, I finished 11 books, completing my Goodreads challenge (12 books in 2016 total). Even now that I’m working again, my new job is a lot more enjoyable, so I don’t come home so drained as before. While I am not consuming literature as such a fast pace as the summer, I’ve seem to found that right balance.
I just started a new book (for me, at least). Chris Hardwick talks about taking all the qualities of a nerd (like the “innate ability for overanalysis and hyper-self-awareness”) and focusing those energies into positive change. Some of that can be channeled into becoming a “nerdist,” which he defines as an “artful Nerd”… someone who “doesn’t just consume” but “creates and innovates.”
As I contemplate these words that I read in this book’s introduction, I think I figured out why I blog. Consuming media has never been the end goal for me. While I do enjoy reading about philosophy and religion and pop culture and history and sports and sociology, I also enjoy writing and creating. In my previous life as an IT Manager, I wrote an “IT Tip of the Week” email, highlighting easy-to-follow (or easy-to-avoid) tech tips for my co-workers. And when I discovered Yelp in 2010, I started writing reviews for that site (396 and counting!). Now, I have this blog, which is the clearinghouse for my random thoughts. While many blogs are focused on one topic or another, I don’t think I could do so at this point in my life. My thoughts are all over the place, which is fine for now. Maybe down the road, a single passion will surface. For now, I will be satisfied with whatever pops into my nerdy head!
On a separate note, this will probably be my last blog post for a while. My new job ramps up in December, as our industry is very seasonal. I don’t imagine having much time or energy to blog for the next 3 weeks. It will finally start to slow down the week of Christmas, so I hopefully will be back on a regular schedule then.