When I was in elementary school, my mom had a rule for my brother and me that truly shaped my life, my interests, how I consume media.
For every thirty minutes of TV time, we had to spend an hour outside. A ratio, when I was younger, that I absolutely despised. Of course I loved being outside. But I grew up in the deep south of Alabama. Which means mosquitos, devilish heat, and constantly dripping in sweat. It was fine, but spending more than an hour outside on certain days was brutal.
So how did I stay entertained if I couldn’t watch TV like a “normal” kid?
Remember, this is back before the days of YouTube and only right when Webkinz and Club Penguin were taking over youth culture.
So essentially, there was nothing to do except read a good ‘ole book. And when I say I read, I mean I read a lot. Every day, every night before bed. I was the student in class that looked forward to the time in the school day where we had designated reading time. The trips to the library were like if I was Charlie visiting Wonka’s chocolate factory.
I stopped reading when I got to college because by the time I finished my assigned readings of textbooks and unrelated articles assigned to keep us busy, I didn’t want to read for enjoyment. Not to mention, I was living with my best friends so there was never downtime to just chill and read.
But now that I’m done with college, I’ve been reading like I was a kid again. I recently read a book that I can’t stop telling people about. It’s one of those “can’t put ‘em down, bury your nose, read until your eyes get too heavy” kind of books. Simply put, it was the best book I’ve read in a really long time.
The essence of the story is simple, a girl against the world, quite literally. I feel like I can’t describe it in too much detail without ruining the ending, but I promise you’ll love it. The topics include those of loneliness, love, family, mystery, confusion regarding the purpose and meaning of life.
So, in short, read it. It’s called Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. A work of art.