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May 6, 2021
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The Joy of Books

Not long after graduating from college, my wife and I moved to Taiwan. We were a short time away from the arrival of our first child, I had no real job prospects after graduating with a history degree, and we both missed Taiwan. Going “home” seemed like a great plan. (Taiwan is my wife’s first home and I consider it my second home.)

And it was great. My wife was close to her mom through the end of her pregnancy and the delivery. We were helped through that stressful time by family that had a lot more baby experience then we did.

I was soon teaching full time. I’m sure I am not the first new dad to deal with the stress of having newborn and work by watching TV. The interesting quirk in this case is that this was before streaming services and our TV only had a handful of channels in English. They were all movie channels.

Anytime I wanted to watch TV it was a two hour commitment. The movies weren’t very good either. After watching “Sharknado,” a truly terrible waste of time, l decided I needed to make a change.

A trip to the bookstore to load up on English books did the trick. Two hours spent in a book never felt like two hours wasted. Not everything I read was great literature, but I also don’t recall finishing any books and thinking “there goes two hours of my life I will never get back.”

It’s fun to think back on that time and remember the books I read or was reading when important events happened. I finished The Hunchback of Notre Dame in the hospital after my son was born. I finished A Tale of Two Cities just before my daughter arrived. I was reading a Stephen King novel when I got my first raise.

Time spent with a book is never time wasted.