Back when I was in Elementary School, and even into my High School years, English was one of my favorite subjects. Not for grammar (I hated that – as you can probably tell from my atrocious usage of commas and such) but for both the reading and writing sections of the class.
I can remember all the way back to about the sixth grade. I attended a magnet school and our english teacher stood at the head of the class and told us that we would be writing a journal entry every day. I want to see at least fifty words per day – that’s about one page in your notebooks she would tell us.
The other kids would grumble about not having anything to talk about and how the task would simply be impossible to do every single day. I didn’t mind at all, during that free free writing time I would hammer out three or four pages. It seemed like I could go on and on about anything (as you can probably see – I still have a little knack for it).
Reading was much the same way. The class would be given a portion of a book to read for homework. The following day we would discuss what we read with the teacher leading the discussion and asking questions. I can remember one particular instance where we had to read Animal Farm.
I did something stupid and wound up with an in-school suspension for the day. After completing all of the work I had to do for the day (which was rather light) I started in on reading Animal Farm. To be honest, I hate the book, but I read it from cover to cover while cooped up in that little room.
The next day we were discussing the book and the teacher asked me a vague question about an early chapter. I struggled to answer and he looked at me with disbelief. You mean to tell me you couldn’t be bothered to read the assigned chapter while you were in an in-school suspension all day yesterday?
The teacher seemed dumbfounded when I explained that his question was rather vague and that I was having a little trouble remembering back that far. Not only had I read the chapter he assigned, I had read the entire book. After class I gave him a rundown of the book and he never asked me another question about it until the class had finished reading it.
At this point I’m rambling and getting way off of my intended topic. Let’s try to bring it back on course, shall we?
When my wife and I bought our first house and moved in together, we shared a bookshelf. As we filled that shelf, my wife would quickly flip through the pages of various books, reminiscing over the various stories inside. She handed me a Dean Koontz novel (I can’t even recall what it was at this point) and suggested I read it. Thrillers and Mysteries were never really my thing but I read it anyway.
It has been about seven years since I read that Koontz novel and since then I’ve probably only read one more Thriller – Random by Craig Robertson. The genre still isn’t my thing but based on a suggestion from Sam over on Stogie Review, I decided to give it another try.
I was looking for podcast suggestions and Sam told me to give Serial a listen. It is basically a serialized podcast – a fictional drama / thriller / whodunit story with a chapter being read each week (basically an Audio Book of sorts).
I fired up the first episode of Serial on Monday while I drove into work. I arrived at work and the episode hadn’t ended yet. I did not want to turn it off and go inside! I spent the entire day in utter suspense as to what was going to happen next. The story was gripping and I could not wait for the long commute home.
Since then I’ve powered through 10 episodes. I just can’t help myself, there is so much depth and intrigue in the story that I can’t not listen when I have free time. I’m listening in the car, while running on the treadmill, and any other quiet moment I can find in between.
If you haven’t experienced the amazing podcast that is Serial, I strongly suggest you head on over to the website (or find it on iTunes) and give the first episode a listen. You won’t be disappointed!