Friday, February 6, 2009

Book Bribery

It was a cold rainy day. I had just ordered myself two chicken sandwiches inside Wendy's and went to sit down at a booth. Fortunately, I had my reading material; a big hefty hardcover of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. I was halfway through it and it was getting good. One of my favorites. That and Deathly Hallows.

This was right around the time that Order of the Phoenix was coming to theaters. My girlfriend had already read Stone through Hallow. An elderly couple was watching me reading the book while hey were standing in line about to place their order, pointed at me too. I tried to ignore it, figuring that they couldn't understand why a grown man would read harry potter, let alone drag the hardcover around with him.

"Excuse me?"
I look up. "Yes?"
"Sorry, to interrupt, but my wife and I were just noticing you reading that book. Is it good?"
"Oh, very. This is my favorite of the series so far."

At this, the old man smiled. He gave a reassuring nod to his wife then turned back to me. He smiled with emanating approval.

"Well that's just great. Y'know, we have a couple of granddaughters that love reading. It's always good to see someone reading a good solid book. My wife and I read all the time and we encourage it in our family."
I put the book down. "That's great," I say. "I love reading. I get lost in it all the time."

Eventually we arrived on the topic of how a lot of people don't enjoy a lot of literature or don't have time to read. But this man and his wife had a remedy for that. When his granddaughters were young, he told me, he had promised them that if they would read 500 books each, they would each receive 500 dollars from him. I raised my eyebrows. Such an ingenious method. I asked if they ever cheated by reading magazines and he said no. They read full-length books, each one worth a dollar of the bribe.

We talked a little bit more, shook hands and then him and his wife left.
I was inspired. It was an excellent idea and one I hope to adapt to my future children. Just goes to show that reading in bulk pays off.

"A man will turn over half a library to make one book. ~Samuel Johnson"