I’m a writer, which also means I’m a reader.
So it should come as no surprise that there are dozens upon dozens of sports-themed books on the shelves in my sports-themed basement.
Years ago a wise man told me, if I wanted to be a better writer I was going to have to read a lot more than just the sports pages. Although, take it from me, there’s nothing wrong with reading the sports pages from front to back and back to the front again.
And I know this is going to sound strange coming from a guy who writes for a living, but until that moment I never really associated good writing with more reading.
Sure a lot of people read my writing, but I never really thought about how what I read effects how I write. But as I’ve read more books, magazine articles and online pieces, I definitely see now how it effects how the words come out of my mind and make it into the paper on a daily basis.
Seeing that sports are my passion, it’s only fitting that every single book that I own is of a sports nature. Football books, basketball books and books about everything in between. How-to books, biographies, books filled with photographs and those without a single photo. Great pieces of American literature and some that are so bad I’m amazed they got published, the collection is expansive. However, I’m going to fill you in on a deep, dark family secret…there are very few books that I own that have been read from cover to cover.
I love to read, but I have to admit I have a problem. Of all the books in my library, I haven’t finished nearly as many as I should, I’m guessing the percentage of books I’ve finished is only around 25 percent. Why? Because just like my sports-loving mind that can go from thinking about the intricacies of a particular pitch sequence to a power-hitting first baseman on second, to wondering why Dick LeBeau’s zone blitz is so effective the next. I just can’t limit myself to thinking exclusively about one sport or one general sport theme for the amount of time it would take to finish the book.
So my solution to the problem is to read just a couple chapters at a time of one book, set it down, and pick up a different one at a later date. I don’t know when I will pick up said book again and continue where I left off, but when I do the words will be waiting for me.
What this essentially means is I’m reading dozens of books at a time, which if it does nothing else will at least keep bookmark makers in business for many more years.
I love going to discount bookstores and snagging up great titles by award-winning authors. I love grabbing books about stories that I’ve heard about, but didn’t know the whole story. I love reading up on people, teams and such that are interesting. But my mind won’t allow me to give up and concentrate on one book.
Yes, this might seem a little strange, but the thing is just like if you ate your favorite dessert all the time you’d get burned out on it and eventually wouldn’t want it anymore. This is in a sense the exact same thing I’m trying to avoid.
There’s no chance of me getting sick of reading about the 1985 Chicago Bears or the life of Roberto Clemente, because a couple to a few chapters in, I’m off top the next adventure. The greatest football team of my generation will still be there the next time I pick up “Monsters: The Chicago Bears and the Wild Heart of Football” and the greatness that was Clemente will still be on display the next time I get an itch to read “Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball’s Last Hero.”
With this twisted reading system of mine I’ve been able to prolong these great stories and let them live on for much longer than they would had I simply sat down and read them.
The summertime is here, the perfect time of year to sit down in a shady spot and dive into a good book, for at least a couple chapters. I’ve got plenty of choices to choose from that’s for sure. What about you? Got a good sports-theme book that you think I might enjoy? Write me or follow me on Twitter @MadPressSports and we can talk about it.
Chris Miles can be reached at (740) 852-1616 ext. 18, or via Twitter @MadPressSports.