Learning How To Read Good

I once heard that you should never trust someone who doesn't have a collection of books in their apartment. As a music nerd, I understand the logic. It's like when you ask people what music they're into and they say, "I'm into all kinds of music, I'll listen to anything really." At this exact moment, you have become a suspect person to me. For some reason, I just don't trust people who don't like specific...things.

A little while back, I realized something. I don't read enough, and this is entirely ironic: I'm a f*%king writer. And in a way, this embarrassed me.

When people asked me my favorite book, I'd say, "I love A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers." I mean, sure, it was my favorite book. But it was almost like I was trying to select something just cool enough that wasn't a Dan Brown novel. It's like I didn't want people to think that a writer really didn't read all that much. Seemed like I was the guy at the concert wearing the t-shirt, yet I oddly knew none of the songs.

Being a writer who doesn't read that much is almost like being a fat kid, and when someone asks you what your favorite cupcake is, you say, "oh I'm just not that into eating." WELL THEN HOW THE HELL DID YOU GET THAT WAY?

So I decided something's gotta give.

Don't get me wrong. It's not that I dislike reading. I never have. It's simply more indicative of the little bubble of a world I've grown up in. There is endless entertainment that asks me to do nothing as it entertains me. Like little elves that live in magical devices everywhere I look: televisions, computers, at this point even my phone. I'm consistently asked to do nothing. Like Russell Crowe, they dare me to tell them that I need something more. And let's be real: I'm lazy. So yeah, magical devices, I'm entertained. But I'm also 29 and go to bars feeling as though I'm telling girls my favorite books are from the Goosebumps series and HIghlights magazine.

I call myself a writer. And I woke up one day realizing if I love writing this much, I bet there's like 4,983,289 other people who do as well. And it turns out there are.

So I've been reading. And all of the sudden....I get it. I get why people are concerned that kids are all going to be stupid if they don't do this "reading" thing more often. Because books? They're pretty great. It's like having a really good conversation with someone and every now and then asking them if you can go do something else, but that you'd REALLY like to continue this conversation later. And they're totally cool with it. Every time.

It all kind of makes sense now. Reading, essentially, is like being a music nerd. You comb through endless amounts of songs waiting for the one that you personally completely get along with. It says everything that you're thinking, and you just wanna tell everyone what it said. A book is just a really long song. And when you find the good ones, you find all the other songs that band has. And you listen to them until your ears fall off.

Turns out that's just a book.

I like reading again.It doesn't hurt that the first book I got into was by an outrageously hot girl who wrote an essay about The Oregon Trail. Hey, whatever works.

But now I have books in my apartment, and I want to tell you about them.

I feel like I'm finally allowed to call myself a writer. Because I'm actually figuring out what the hell it is that I do. And the good news is that apparently there are things called libraries and amazon.com, and they never run out of books.

I guess I'm like a fat kid who finally likes cupcakes. And it turns out cupcakes are really, really good.

Rocket Shoes Mixtape 43: Learning How To Read Good

Stream the whole thing at the link up top.

Or.

Download them all in tiny little mp3's right here.

Drew Hoolhorst

San Francisco, CA 94110, USA

I have a black belt in feelings.