On the way to dropping off my 15 year old son and two of his friends at NUTC, National Ultimate Training Camp, we stopped for ice cream and their conversation turned to summer reading. The conversation went like this:
Boy 1: I finished reading all three books of The Golden Compass series this morning.
Boy 2: You actually read in the summer? I only read when I have to for school.
Boy 1: But in the summer, you can read whatever you want. You should try it, there’s a lot of good books out there.
Boy 3: Yeah, I only read the first one, The Golden Compass. It was good. I haven’t really read that much this summer. Michael Chabon. I read slow.
Boy 1: I like waking up early and reading.
Boy 3: I’m too tired to read in the morning. I mean I read sports article’s on ESPN, but not books.
Boy 1: Sometimes I wake up and read until lunch, stop to get something to eat and go back to reading for the rest of the day. I love that.
Boy 3: Yeah, I did that with The Wanderer and Summerland.
Boy 2: I’d much rather watch movies.
Boy 1: But reading is like watching a movie only better because it lasts much longer and has a lot more detail. It’s like a really great movie in your mind.
Boy 3: It’s true. Sometimes it’s like you forget you’re even reading because the movie totally absorbs you.
Boy 1: Yeah, and then sometimes like you realize you’re totally absorbed by this movie in your mind and as soon as you realize it, it goes away and then alls you have is words.
Boy 2: See, that’s my problem. When I read, I only get words. I can’t make the pictures happen in my mind.
Boy 1: Maybe you’re just not reading the right books.
Boy 2: You know what books I loved reading. In third grade, I read like every Goose Bumps. Those were cool.
Boy 1: Well, then how ’bout that guy. You know, what’s his name?
Boy 3: Stephen King.
Boy 1: Yeah, he wrote all those like Pet Semetary, right?
Boy 3: Yeah.
Boy 2: I like reading the newspaper. The newspaper is the best. But books, not for me.
Not a bad summertime conversation. They all brought books with them to camp. Tiina Booth, the director of NUTC is a high school English teacher after all–and it was on the list of things to bring. Doubt they’ll have much of a chance to read; they work so hard, they’re usually asleep before they can get horizontal.