Monday, February 28, 2011

Timing and reading

I spent Thursday through Saturday last week at this venue: the Georgia Tech pool. Georgia Tech was hosting the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) men's swimming championships and youngest son, aka swimmer boy, was competing. At Saturday's finals, the ACC recognized all the graduating seniors. I took this picture with my not-at-all-fancy camera, but if you look closely, you can see the line of sweatsuit clad folks standing along the end of the pool--those are the seniors. And if you look even more closely, maybe you'll be able to make out the timers standing behind them--the people in navy t-shirts and khaki pants/shorts.

I spent part of Thursday, Friday, and Saturday dressed in my navy ACC timer shirt and khaki shorts, armed with a stopwatch, watching...well, I think of them as boys, but I suppose most people would call them men swim up and down the pool. Timers start their watches when the starting machine flashes and then we have to get to the edge of the pool and stop our watches and the "plunger" that backs up the touch pad when the swimmer hits at the end of the race. You have to be prepared to get a little wet.

I like being down on the deck. I get to see my son, but I also get to see his college friends and even some of his high school friends who swim for other ACC colleges. And I got to time with another mom whom I've timed with for years beginning when our college seniors were little boys.

So how does reading fit into this post? While I was in the volunteer room waiting for the timer briefing session to start, I struck up a conversation with a young woman, the older sister of one of the college swimmers, who was reading a book on her Kindle. Of course I asked how she liked the device and what she was reading. And she was embarrassed to admit she was reading a "silly" romance.

Now I majored in English in college, so I understand literary snobbery. Genre fiction, and especially romance, isn't quite what an intelligent woman might want to admit liking. I think many of us have a sense of what we "should" be reading. I can even remember when I was young, maybe middle school, not allowing myself to go back and read books in the children's section, even though I wanted to, because I thought they were too babyish.

I wonder where this comes from? One genre is no better than another. If I want to read children's books or if I enjoy romance more than literary fiction, why not read what I want? We all have only a limited time on this earth, so it seems silly to force ourselves to read stories we don't care for, at least once we've graduated from class assignments.

You can be sure I admitted that I not only read romance, I write it--and I'm working on saying that proudly without letting the English major in me turn up her nose even one iota.

No comments:

Post a Comment