I’m going to tell you a story about birding, and then one about reading.  They are related; you’ll figure it out.

When I was in college, I went to Grand Cayman with my mom, my sister, and my mom’s friend for spring break.  I was already on my way to being a bird nerd, but not fully there yet.  My mom (who was also in college at the time) connected me with one of her professors, who loaned me a field guide for the birds of the Caribbean.  This same woman, whose name I regretfully do not recall, asked me at the time if I kept a life list.  I shrugged it off, said something about lists from ornithology and high school, but she persisted.  Serious birders kept lists of the birds they saw, and I should do the same.

I took her advice, writing down the twenty or so species that I saw in Grand Cayman and then compiling my list of things I’d seen in high school, college, and my backyard.  I ended up with about 100 birds or so, with a total of 125 when I moved to Texas for my first real job.

I’ve kept the list going, and it currently stands at 783 birds.  My goal is 1000 in my lifetime.  I think occasionally about that nice professor who suggested that I should keep a list, and I am grateful for her suggestion.

Recently, I met a young lady while I was home for my sister’s wedding.  It was at my family’s church, the Sunday after the wedding.  My parents had to get there early for a commitment they’d made, so I was sitting alone in an empty row, reading.  (I take a book everywhere.)  To my left I noticed a girl, maybe eight years old, sitting with her family.  She was also reading.  After a bit I decided that it was worth it to go say hi and ask what she was reading; I think it’s important to encourage girls who like to read.  During the discussion I had with her and her mom (who was sitting next to her) I mentioned that I keep a journal of the books I finish.  She looked skeptical at first, but when I told her it meant I could go back a couple of years later and figure out the title of that book I remember reading, she lit up.  Her mom asked her if she thought it would be a good idea to start one of her own, and she agreed.

I have no idea if that young lady started a book journal or not, but that’s not the point.  If I had started one at her age, it would have been filled several times over within just a few years; I was a voracious reader then, even more than now.  As I walked away, I realized that I had possibly just done for her what that professor did for me so many years ago.  To all the females out there, I encourage you to encourage girls to read.  We need more smart women on this planet, and reading seems like a good place to start.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Akshita
    Jun 29, 2013 @ 01:56:25

    I’m glad someone got the advice to start making a reading journal early. I compiled a list some time back and it was a gruelling task to remember all that I have read. Thank goodness for Google!


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