Reading: Why we should do it

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- In recent months, I started paying extra attention to the subjects of my conversations and have noticed an interesting trend. I found an astounding number of conversations involve the latest version of an electronic device, a new video game with outstanding graphics, or the best way to upgrade this or that on a computer. While I don't intend to downplay the significance these items hold to others, I do wonder what happened to one of those good ole fashioned pastimes - reading.

This got me thinking about how much people actually read. It's not often that I chat to a friend about the latest books we read or the books in our queue we're excited to peruse. This disinterest in the written word, outside of the relatively new social media markets, is disconcerting to me.

So with my trusty imagination, I shot myself to a future world where people don't care to read or stay current on worldly events. Our future selves are not concerned with the actions of the people governing our country. Children in future school systems are learning the functions of the latest phone application as opposed to the significance of the Bill of Rights or the Gettysburg Address. The future relies on the abilities of our thumb pads instead of our minds. In my imagination, we turned into a nation of conformers and accepters - all because we failed to read.

Could it be true that books are becoming obsolete? And will we, as a nation, suffer because of it?

After I journeyed to the fictitious uneducated, illiterate future, I then wondered why it is people might not read. Is there not enough time? After a grueling 12-hour day at work, is that the last thing on someone's mind? Or could the reason be that it's difficult to find books or authors we can relate to from our school system reading experiences?

Whether we read for pleasure, verity or as a requirement for a course, reading stimulates the mind and, depending on the book's subject, enhances our knowledge.

The Air Force Chief of Staff promotes us to do just that as he creates an annual reading list of book suggestions to allow us to continually improve ourselves, as well as to gain insight into the past, present and future of our nation.

The CSAF reading list is a useful starting point for diving into the literary world with book topics such as how to develop into an efficient leader, military heritage and history, defense strategy and many others.

To access the CSAF reading list, visit https://www.my.af.mil/gcss-af/USAF/AFP40/d/s6925EC1356510FB5E044080020E329A9/Files/editorial/2011%20CSAF%20Reading%20List%20Announcement%20Letter[1].pdf.