I love a good book. I used to read a lot when I was younger. I devoured books like some people eat Lay's potato chips. I could never eat just one. I read nearly every genre: mystery, suspense, science-fiction, comedy, history, horror, fantasy -- and the lame books we were required to read in school. And without difficulty, I wrote many objective book reviews for every one of my high school reading assignments. But when I had to give my first oral book review, in front of my freshman class, I panicked. I bluffed my way through the review, which I thought was ingenious on my part. The teacher, on the other hand, thought otherwise.
I can remember when we received the reading assignment: we could choose whatever book we wanted to read and then give an oral review. I thought this would be an easy assignment, and I would ace it without fail. The only thing our teacher asked us to do was actually read a new book and not just report on one we had previously read. Again, I felt this was not a problem for me because I loved to read. However, at this point, I wanted to try and see if I could skirt around the assignment with as little effort as possible. My plan was to only "skim" the book and deliver a confident review -- no questions asked. I figured if I could get by with this scheme then I would continue with it for the remainder of my high school years because it would save time for my other homework. My plan was only partially successful. I fooled the class, but not the one who sealed my decision that this wasn't a good idea.
I stood in front of the class and gave, in my opinion, an excellent review of a book that I had only read the back jacket cover copy, the introduction and epilogue. I prepared to return to my seat when my teacher cautioned me to stay. She picked up the book and silently read a few pages from each of the chapters. As she held the book between her hands, I began to sweat profusely. The inside of my mouth felt like a bag full of cotton balls, and my legs teetered on the verge of total collapse. She started to ask me some questions about the plot and characters -- and I started to stammer and stutter my way through a minefield of creative lying.
By the time I was done with my fictional tale, the teacher put the book down on her desk and told me to take my seat. I thought for sure she was going to berate me in front of the class, but she didn't. She knew I had been caught in a colossal lie and that her grade would reflect my deception.
I determined, from then on, to read every word of every book I was assigned to read -- no matter how boring, dumb or time-consuming I thought it was going to be. I didn't mind. This type of thinking fit well into my other life scheme: If I was going to be a great writer, I had to be a voracious reader as well.
If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW
Read more articles by Bob Valleau or search for articles on the same topic or others.