Saturday, July 7, 2012

A Strange Way to Read a Book

A few years ago I received David McCullough's 1776 as a Christmas gift. The book was on my wish list, but with so much other stuff to read I didn't get to it right away. Several months later, on the following Fourth of July, I saw it sitting on the shelf and started reading. The subject matter seemed appropriate for the day. Made it through the first chapter. Then the book went back on the shelf ...

Until the next Fourth of July when I picked up where I’d left off a year earlier. And so an Independence Day tradition emerged. Each year on that day, and only that day, I read McCullough’s work about that pivotal year of the American Revolution. This most recent July Fourth, I finished 1776—five years after I started. I must admit, this is not the best way to read a book. Each new session required me to reread several pages to refresh my memory as to what had just happened with Washington and his army. Even so, I’m still glad I read this particular book the way that I did. Learning about the events of that tumultuous year on the Fourth of July made the holiday more meaningful to me and renewed my appreciation of those who made our celebrations possible.