Episode 23 – Read To Live: Baby Boomers Discussing the Books that Changed their Lives

Snail mail, the fax machine and CDs have all become things of the past.

All of these things have been replaced by modern day technology. Snail mail and the fax machine have been replaced by email and social media networks. CDs have been replaced by iTunes and digital downloading. But what about books? Well many people nowadays prefer to read using ebooks. Is it better than reading old-fashioned printed books? Does it affect the amount of knowledge being shared and absorbed by the readers?

What do Baby Boomers think about this? There’s no doubt that the Booms Day Prepping panelists love to read. Today they team up once again for another exciting episode to talk about their love for reading and what books have made an impact on their lives.


Wayne Bucklar:  You’re listening to Booms Day Prepping, our regular look at issues for Baby Boomers and what it means for Baby Boomers to get ready and do some preparation for that next stage in their lives. And as always today, I’m joined by my regular panelists – Bron Williams, Glenn Capelli and Amanda Lambros and by my co-host, Drew Dwyer. My name is Wayne Bucklar and this is Booms Day Prepping. This week’s episode, we have a look at what are the things that we’ve read? What are the important things that we’ve read that have changed our lives and how have they done so? And as always, Drew Dwyer, would you like to lead us into this thought?

Dr. Drew Dwyer:  Yes, I will and I’d like to thank one of our panelists Glenn Capelli for nominating this subject which is for me a good process of reflective practice and emotional intelligence because to know ourselves is a reflection on ourselves and what motivates, or drives us or makes us think for ourselves so that we are able to communicate more effectively with other people. Emotional intelligence is a two siloed effect as we’ve discussed before – knowing yourself, being aware of self, understanding self and managing self so that you are able to engage with others, and manage others, and work with others and understand others. So for me, my book, a book that I am close to, a book I’ve actually given to my son at the moment, I go to my daughter when she was at the appropriate age, I thought to read it is the book “To Kill a Mockingbird.” And of course, the book itself is written around the 1930s and I believe or I think a lot of Baby Boomers will understand this book. I think it’s one of those books that everybody in their life, in our age bracket has probably read. I know our younger generations probably don’t read the book, it used to be in the school curriculum, it was when I went to school and of course there has been a great movie made about it. But the book was set in America in the midst of their Great Depression or Post-war Depression and it’s a time of tough economic failure – the country on its knees, America’s dream was breaking, the white picket fence, the home, the community and considered that everything around them was all breaking up and they’re in great discourse over things such as race, and ethnicity and social classing of their people. And the story of the book focuses specifically around a character by the name of Atticus Finch. And Atticus is a local lawyer barrister community person who in his depiction, for me in a modern world today, considering for me in my opinion, the world is going crazy lunatic left. But Atticus Finch is a focus point for me for today. He was not a person that was xenophobic or homophobic, he wasn’t a racist or sexist or he didn’t have any of these constructs in his vision or how he saw people, he saw everyone as the same and he wanted that moral right, that integrity of the human race and human beings can be protected and to be focused on. And so the book “To Kill a Mockingbird” centers around an aspect of knowledge in their community or knowledge in American social life that you could basically shoot all the blue jays that they wanted if you could find them and hit them because they’re a very quick bird. But it was a sin to kill a mockingbird. So you got certain birds you could shoot and kill but mockingbirds, you couldn’t, it was considered a sin to kill a mockingbird. So the book used this analogy and this ideology to build its construct around how people see each other differently and how we behave and react around other people differently. And the book he used, this is a very strong message at the time to put out the integrity of the moral norm or the moral decent society that at the time America was in the wrong direction by subclassing, treating blacks differently, treating women differently. And for me today, it’s a book that probably needs to be put back on the table and in the curriculum. For me, it was a book that totally motivated me, gave me clarity and as a young person in my life at the time I read this book, experiencing my father’s passing and dying pathway through cancer and seeing and experiencing of course, abuse, and neglect and family problems. The things in this book resonated very strongly with me as a young teenager and a person. It ignited my oil and my lamp and let me see that you have to do the right thing, moral integrity, you can’t be xenophobic, homophobic. You can’t treat people differently, all human beings should be the right and for me, it was a book that more or less guided my principles towards being a nurse, working in healthcare and joining the army and working in my zone. I often have referred to and gone back to “To Kill a Mockingbird” to realign me to that principle justice of treating people right. So I’ll add in my points as we talk but that book for me, “To Kill a Mockingbird” absolutely changed my view as a young person, it’s guided my older view and like the construct of my value system when we sit with integrity and learning to be on earth, and to be empathic and to have the qualities that nursing gives and also the qualities of soldiering and leadership. This is a book that still resonates strongly, it has very strong messages and a book that I hold very closely when I want to teach a lesson to my own children and people in my family. This is a great book I think for people to read, it’s a great book for Baby Boomers to come back to, they’ve probably read it in their youth. My advice would be to read it again. Glenn?

Glenn Capelli:  A great book for teachers to teach too. There’s so many layers to be able to get out of that story. And fascinating that books influence us, they focus have on sometimes, seeds are planted that we don’t even know are planted. And so my seed planted early by Mrs. Payne at Kalgoorlie Central Primary School and the beauty of reading the story out loud and she read The Wizard of Oz and it just sparked something in me and I wanted to read more of that kind of thing. And this led me indirectly to understanding one of my favorite grown jokes later in life, why do elephants have big ears because Noddy wouldn’t pay the ransom. And to get that, and naughty stories. So somehow The Wizard of Oz took me and maybe it brought out the feminine side of a young boy because I started reading, “The Enchanted Forest Series” and “The Beauty of the Magic Faraway Tree” and in the faraway tree, all these different characters lived. There was a saucepan man, there was a moon face, and the land at the top of the tree changed every week. And I believe JK Rowling must have read Enid Blyton’s “Faraway Tree” and “The Enchanted Forest” to be able to come up with Harry Potter later in life. But Enid Blyton journey for me, planted the seed that you can imagine and the beauty of a simple sentence to create an image in the mind whether it’s a spoken sentence or a written sentence. So sighing, “I wish, I wish” over the breeze was how the trees of the enchanted forest. And it planted something about the beauty of language led me then to the “Famous Five” and “Adventure Reading” and then to “The Secret Seven” and maybe The Secret Seven inspired me to enjoy the Magnificent Seven movie later in life, who knows? But somewhere in a young brain, the beauty of being able to imagine and somebody putting words on a page that as you read them through the beauty of that language, it could create imagery in your mind and that imagery in your mind was endless, the power of imagination. So it becomes interesting with “To Kill a Mockingbird” Drew because those who read it without seeing the movie or ever knowing the movie, they would have their image of Atticus Finch, the most magnificent role model perhaps ever But once that movie came out, if you saw it, it would be hard to read To Kill a Mockingbird without picturing Gregory Peck.

Dr. Drew:  Absolutely. And it’s a connection Glenn in that book for me that the child, his daughter, Scout. As a young girl it was her who drove the whole mission because her brother Jim, her father was Atticus but it was the children identifying the innocence of the moral norm, the right and wrong and questioning their father or forcing their father to take up the law or to challenge the law and to question the law because what the kids saw, not knowing law or not understanding law, the kids saw the purity of the issues that were being portrayed in the book. Scout being a tomboy and she was herself under scrutiny in the community for being a tomboy, not being a girl and not following the norm. And as you say, there’s so many layers, it leads me to other books that I read from that. It’s that purity that these kids drove a community and the father to stand up and look at things as not just as basic as law, and to look at humans and look at tomorrow norm and social norms. And what you say is correct. It’s this inspiration there for me that drives further reading – we get these lessons, when I read a book, I don’t just see the single character, it’s all the characters.

Glenn:  The beauty of Harper Lee choosing that name “Scout,” to scout your way through life. Ss a hint of adventure, she could almost be one of the famous five. But to adventurously scout your way through life looking for the morals, looking for the moral compass. I mean there’s the chosen language of these beautiful writers and you can take it at one level or if you say, “There’s another layer, another layer, another layer, another layer.” So bless their hearts, the Lee’s and Enid Blyton’s.

Dr. Drew:  I mean for me, one of the books that comes off that is “The Power of One” by Bryce Courtenay who of course was inspired by this book and he wrote about and then inspired him to read to write his book about that boy, “PK” who it takes it another layer further. But a decade later, calling out the same issues, calling out that power of a single person whether it be the child, Scout or this boy, PK. It’s the language, the way they write about it, the way they drive the image through words in the books that paints a picture. So for me, very powerful stuff, powerful books and I think books that Baby Boomers can resonate with and probably some stuff we need to put back on the table. I’m wondering Bron as a woman, what book inspired you?

Bron Williams:  Well before I tell you what my book is, I’ll go back to Glenn and the Secret Seven and the Famous Five. My first overseas trip was to London and I had to go to Charing Cross Station because that’s where the Secret Seven came and went from all the time, it was like this connection to my childhood and I loved those books as well. But the book that really I think it actually was very informative but it was interesting I had to get his some thought, was the “Final Battle” by CS Lewis. Now that’s the final book in the Narnia series and I love that series of books and we talk about books being layered. Now you can read that series of books purely as imaginative and certainly been many, many movies made out of it. But knowing that CS Lewis is also a Christian theologian and that’s my faith background, there is another level. It’s like a metaphor or an analogy for much of the Christian faith. And this last story, the scene that impresses – well there’s a couple of scenes – in the final book in the Final Battle, of course there’s Aslan who is God representative in the book. But then there’s Tash which is almost like Allah. I think that’s where Lois has taken it because it’s a very Islamic Middle Eastern type God. And then there’s a false god that’s put up by the monkey and the donkey called “Tashlan,” so the combination of the two. And there’s a young Calormen who’s the middle-eastern man and right who when the last battle is happening, there’s this stable, there’s this hut the people retreat to and this young Calormen moves in there along with the thought there’s only three children left at this stage. And going through this stable, it’s like a portal. They then move into the new Narnia and here the young Calormen meets Aslan and he falls on his knees and he says, “I’m sorry, I didn’t realize you actually existed.” He said, “I’ve worshipped Tash all my life.” And Aslan says, “When you worshiped Tash, you worshiped me. No one can do good things and not worship me and no can do bad things.” It was just this beautiful understanding for me when in my early 20s I think I was when I read that, that there was more “faith wise” than what my fairly conservative Christian upbringing.

Dr. Drew:  Was it the connection Bron with one God?

Bron:  No.

Dr. Drew:  As in one in God, Aslan being that one God. It doesn’t matter if it’s Tash, or Buddha or anyone – it ended up being Aslan?

Bron:  Yes. There was that sense of not only the one god but the fact that this God loved all people regardless of how they worshiped and it certainly I think that I paved the way then for me to be able to open myself up to looking at a different religious viewpoints which certainly came into so much benefit for me when I was working on Nauru in a multi-faith, multicultural, multilingual situation to be able to work alongside Hindus, and Buddhists and Muslims and to value their insights the way they looked at life. It was just wonderful and that continues to grow in me now.

Dr. Drew:  I’m gonna skip out on our next female and go to Wayne. Wayne, do you have a book? I’m gonna finish on beauty. We’ll go to the beast before we go the beauty. So we’ll just ask Wayne if he has a book that inspired him.

Wayne:  I’m just sympathizing with Amanda here being skipped so casually. Like all of our panels, there are many, many, many books and it is interesting I think that so many of our generation were big readers. But I think this morning, I might reach for “Fahrenheit 451” from Ray Bradbury. A story about books and a story about a world in which books were destroyed, 451 being the temperature which paper burns. And a novel about a world in which the control of knowledge was critical to the survival of the government and how people dealt with that. But it was inspirational for me because it’s probably the first socio-political book I ever read as a kid and like the other books that people spoke about. It has multiple layers in it, I mean it’s just a rollicking good yarn if you want to read it at that level but you can peel away the layers and start to look at the social constructs and the political constructs beneath it. But yes, that was one of the ones that inspired me and changed the way I thought about the world.

Dr. Drew:  And Amanda, we’ll go to you now with your book or book that inspired you so we can move on.

Amanda Lambros:  Mine is one of those really weird ones that I absolutely love. It got turned into a movie, it’s called “Little Women.”

Dr. Drew:  I thought you were gonna say “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

Amanda:  Well Fifty Shades of Grey, that was a great book and it was also turned into a movie. So we’ll go with Little Women, it was written by Louisa Alcott way back in the 1800s and it was the most fantastic book. I read it when it was actually a book and I then saw it when it was a movie which was great. But it’s about four sisters and I never had any sisters myself. So it was kind of like a fantasy for me to like, “Oh this is what it would be like to have sisters and all this other kind of stuff.” But I think the most important thing about it is that it showed that each sister could live independently and that they could work as a community and each one had completely different personalities. And so it was kind of like it gave me that freedom to be able to like pick and choose little bits to create who I wanted to be and to have that ability to do that I thought was really pretty amazing. So for me, I saw this book as even though it did talk a little bit about domestic responsibilities which I’m not a huge fan of it also, it was important in the 1800s. But the domestic thing aside, it really talked about how women can actually work and that they shouldn’t listen to men’s views about how they work, and it talked about true love and managing your own true love so not waiting for love to come to you but kind of taking the horns by its reins or however that saying goes. And so for me, it was “Little Women.”

Dr. Drew:  So what I get here is two. I get a bit of sense even from all of us, we seem to like books that have characters that sort of inspire us because they were people who swam against the tide. I know I like books like this, certain books around the same era as the book that I mentioned, “To Kill a Mockingbird.” You’ve got “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” which is an ongoing series written by Mark Twain of course but the inspiration from his books is his characters are the people that swim against the tide. The Power of One, To Kill a Mockingbird, “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” is another book, Betty Smith wrote several books much similar around being centered in the tale of diversity and a strong young sensitive aspiration to beat the current norm or to beat the value of the current society. So for me it’s very strong in the books that I’ve read and have inspired me. And for me, I think it’s pertinent too for Baby Boomers who are listening to understand we’re probably all sitting in a space and many of the older Boomers, people over 60 – 65 are probably contemplating or feeling like they’re swimming against the tide and perhaps going back to some of these books might inspire them and reconnect them with characters, stories, fables, fantasies perhaps that allowed a confidence to continue to swim against the tide. For me I think that swimming against the tide becomes more pertinent when you’re living with illness, ageing in retirement and the transitions that we speak about with Boomers in providing them a Survival Guide as they step through into the late stage or third stage of their life. So tell me as a panel and I’ll go to Glenn next but as the books you read and the connections you make, are there particular characters that you align with because of their role in the books or is it something else in these types of books from the author? Is it the particular author that inspires you and does that author always write the same way, the same characters, the same expression or if you found that they can mix it up in different books that can inspire you in different ways?

Glenn:  Always interesting because I think how we read, and what we read and why we read what we read can also then once we’ve recognized our pattern to go beyond that pattern. So business people for example that I work will often read business books and that’s it but let’s return and read some of the classics, let’s read. I know To Kill a Mockingbird and Mark Twain that was more like taking a raft against the tide than swimming over. But for me there is that thing about patterns of people, the characters. So Amanda with your four sisters from Little Women, it’s almost the “Adventurous Four,” it was another series of Enid Blyton. A lot of the idea of five I mean JK Rowling based around three principal characters, the Tremendous Trio. So I’ve always liked I guess character but I’ve always been attracted to as I got older to it, to novels that actually were conceptual as well as concept of character and plot, they had really challenging concepts. So Hermann Hesse, Steppenwolf or any of Sidhartha, there’s a philosophical pattern or layer to them. And in reading complex books by Doris Lessing, there was a beautiful book called, “Memoirs of the Survivor.” And as an 18 year old, it just smashed my brain open. I reread it as a 45 year old and I couldn’t understand it. So maybe I was smarter and wiser at 18 but one of the images that everyone leaves to see. And I want to go back to the beauty of CS Lewis Bron, there’s a young bloke that did a piece of writing and gave it to his English master at school and the English master laughed at this piece of writing. So he vowed and declared, he would never show another human being a piece of writing. And when he eventually after World War I and being a serviceman and doing some writing and becoming a professor at university, he struck up a friendship with another professor and got the confidence to show his writing to another human being and this other human being was CS Lewis. And the bloke who got that confidence was J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings. And what CS Lewis did is first of all, he engaged in what he calls “Praise Based Criticism.” So it starts with, “This is just magnificent, this piece here are just so stunning, they’re brilliant. I love this line here, I love this here.” And then he would say, “Now if I was professor Google body or if I was the sinister snowman, what I might criticize is this here and you might change this here.” So he always used a different role to do the critical analysis but also started with praise and there’s something in there about how we give feedback to human beings. So Drew, I think I love stuff where I read it and there’s the layers, the conceptual layers. I mean maybe The Enchanted Forest took me to a really loving animal farm where one thing stands for another and there’s a message with humanity in it. So along with character and thought, give me a theme and give me a concept.

Dr. Drew:  I’ve often done the same thing. I try and read as much as I can but now with digital stuff, you can get the information in a whole different ways from ebooks and word books and so forth. So you don’t have to read, just lay there and listen. But I do the same thing with for example Charlotte’s Web and George Will’s “Big Brother.” And people will say to me, “Connect those two books. I said, “The stories, the layers in these books are very similar. they have the same similar context in a different way.” But a book specifically for me that my daughter was reading that I picked up, she was studying it in school much similar to me doing “How Kill a mockingbird” at school when she was at school, they read, “Tomorrow When the War Begins.” I don’t know if anyone knows this book. It’s a modern book I think 90-93 somewhere in there. It’s an Australian baseball, Australian kids basically an invasion overcomes Australia. These kids are left to defend for themselves in a community but really it’s important that what it talks about is how they get around communicate without technology. So it layers all different things that the construct of what modern kids are dealing with and what happens when those modern things aren’t available. How do kids survive, what do they do tomorrow when the war begins? And those layered messages for our youth, for my children or my child when she’s reading that. When I picked the book and read it, it struck me again as we talk about older books, these messages are still being delivered in modern books and designing modern constructs for kids to think about in their way and their terms. So as I pulled the book apart, I was interested to see that several layers in the book, several messages in the book, several things that the kids had to pull apart and of course, in their English studies had to do this crucial around survival, around community, around sticking together, teamwork. And those basic messages we have in our books that we align to, I mean “Little Women” for example. Probably not having the same value systems that I wanted but I could definitely see the connection to value system of Millennial group yet driven by an author in a book to send the same message. So those messages is not specific to author but really to the construct of how they write the books and how these books are written and I think it’s the unique value about written literature whether it be grey, academic, or in a fiction, nonfiction. These authors have that ability to put that in there, that storyline which uses language to be able to strike image and get people thinking and yet align it to values, and systems and processes. Amanda, what’s your thought on that?

Amanda:  I actually think when you have the ability to layer like how Glenn was saying “to layer the books” and layer the messages and stories within the books. I think that’s brilliant, I think people need to get back into reading. I think you kind of touched on the point that due to digital age, we’re not reading the way we used to like picking up those books. I’m one of those people and for those on the podcast can’t see but behind me, I always have a huge library of books and I like that feel of books and being able to get to it and learn about each character from so many books.

Dr. Drew:  Unfortunately my wife keeps my book club money very much under control. But the current book I’m reading is this one called “Clinton Cash” and it’s very interesting if you haven’t picked a book like this up of late and have a read. But anyway, go on. I digress Amanda, sorry.

Amanda:  And I think it’s kind of fun like now that I have children to take the books that I read and then read them to them and then have this conversation with them to see what they got out of it and there’s so much difference between what I hear even something as simple as like the Dr. Seuss’ “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” which is a fabulous book and I absolutely love it. But it’s like the lessons I get out of it and the message I get out of it and the ones my kids get are completely different but they still have the same undercurrent and I think that’s really important.

Dr. Drew:  My kids, I find my son is a terrible reader. He won’t read right. He has a learning difficulty but I think it’s workable but I’ve only just recently discovered that I can get him to read a book that he’s totally interested as a boy. And so I’ve just given him a book in regards to a guy from the American marines who went to Afghanistan. He had a learning difficulty. My boy has resonated with this book very clearly because he’s into the military and he wants to be in the army. And this fellow, the story works that he tells his journey of his life, couldn’t read and write, didn’t go to school, pulled out of the school, joined the military went through to become a bomb disposal expert IEDs of course that’s Afghanistan, talks about the story of war, what he experienced the people, the job, the destruction, the violence. Now some people might say, “Oh that’s a terrible book to give a child.” My son at 15 is so into this book but he’s not into the war part of it, he’s into the connection, “Dad, this guy is like me. Dad, this guy thinks me. Dad, this guy thinks like uncle so-and-so or auntie so-and-so. Dad, this is what you talk about.” So through the book, he’s able to connect with his family, his culture, his people, his want, his need. So what I have found that he’s pushing through the book admittedly as I push him through the book, when he finishes another 50 pages, we sit down and we talk about what he learned, what he got out of those 50 pages. Now for me, I’m inspired the fact that I can actually get him to read a book now rather than just want to play on a gaming machine and he’s actually found books now that he’s more driven to as a boy and he has a bit of connection with. I can’t get him to read anything else now other than books that have an inspiration or a drive for him that’s something he can find to connect with. And he will tell me within the preface whether or not he’s going to like the book. He can generally pick up the cover and go, “Not” or he’ll pick up the cover and go, “Hmm.”

Amanda:  I think Drew you’ve hit the nail on the head there because you really have to read the books and I felt this way and that’s obviously not for everyone. But you really have to read the books that resonate with you. So I go into a library or like a bookshop and I pick up the book, I read the back and I go, “Oh my God, this would so relate. I could see myself in this position or whatever.” I’ll buy that book. But there’s other books that I’m like, “Don’t get it, I don’t understand it. Not interested.” And I’ll put it right back on the bookshelf.

Dr. Drew:  Bron, I’m going to ask. I would imagine a lot of the literature that grew you, and changed you or inspired you as you just spoke even finding current literature like Witch in the Wardrobe and Lord of the Rings, obviously you read a lot of this stuff but I do too. But I prefer to watch the movie. But were spiritual religious context books a very big driving force for you, or given to you, or you were forced to? Or is it something you just once you found that space with your connection with spirituality and your religious journey, do you find yourself still reading these types of books and that’s what you get out of these books or does it differ?

Bron:  I actually think I’m a bit like Glenn. I was initially attracted to the whole imagination thing and that sense of going into another world. And so that I think it was that sense and whether that’s connected to as a child that I didn’t understand the whole notion of spirituality of something out there. I was certainly involved in church from a young age because that’s my parents’ background but I think there was something in me that was also spiritually connected that was different to the religion that I grew up in. I certainly read a lot of Christian self-help books, Christian doctrine books all of those sorts of things for years like decades because I was interested in that sort of thing. So that by the time I actually came to do my theology degree, I had this really solid grounding in quite a range of Christian outlooks on things and so for me, it was not this huge jump to then go into a degree because I had been self-taught teaching myself stuff at that level for decades. But in terms of my own self as a person, I resonate with the things that grab my imagination. A bit like Amanda – the people, the characters, I’m much more picky with books now if I start to get into it and I can’t resonate with the character, it’s just like this is just too much hard work because there’s so much good stuff out there. And actually, the book I’m reading at the moment is this one I picked it up for I think $0.50, it’s “Final Jeopardy” by Linda Fairstein. Not read any of her books before, it’s great a detective story, great characters, good plot, so the mix of the two. But the other thing that I love about good books is the fact that she’d passed them on, like you’ve passed on “How to Kill a Mockingbird.” I’ve used to read the  Milne’s poetry to my sons particularly to my eldest son and I would always sing, “It’s little boys kneels at the foot of the bed, drips on his little hands, little gold head, hush-hush whisper who dares. Christopher Robin is saying his prayers.” That’s a song and it’s a poem and I would sing that to Matthew every night. He then bought those books for himself and reads them to his children, it’s just wonderful. A couple of Christmases ago, I gave my eldest granddaughter a full set of the Narnia books. She jumped up and ran to her dad and said, “Look, what grandma has given me.” So it’s the sense of being able to pass on for your children and then to your grandchildren. The things that inspired me as a child that I still love as an adult and then to be able to see that going down through the generations and it doesn’t have to be like for me, a spiritual-based book, it’s just that love.

Dr. Drew:  I believe there’s a reason we do read. I mean people will tell me today, “Books are dead, books are gone.” And yet, I see more book shops popping up everywhere. I think who’s  telling everyone that books are dead, what the hell is all that? But anyway, I think there’s a reason we read books, there’s a number of reasons we read books. For me now, particularly being in that academic space, I love books for knowledge but I love books for tranquility and for passion. And I read a book because it allows me to find a pathway to impart other knowledge. So knowledge is a big thing for me but I learn vocabulary from it, I’m not a good speaker, I grew up in a Western Suburb City in Sydney and poor parents and my vocab up until now is always being quite direct and a poor dialect. And as my wife likes to point out to me, I have quite an Australian vernacular but I try to learn more vocabulary to give myself like my own working thesaurus. However for me, analytical thinking, reading a book and trying to work out what’s going on or not being tempted to jump forward to read the chapter down the line so I can see what happens or know what gets in. For me, there’s a lot of reasons why I read a book or why I’m driven to a book. Glenn what’s yours?

Glenn:  I love what Bron sort of hinted at in terms of indigenous communities have some lines that they follow and pass down and I like the idea in a family of book lines. My dad loved Biggles books and I’ve kept these Biggles books and read them and I passed them on now to my nephews and nieces. My mum loves Anne of Green Gables. And one of the things I think that would pass on, when you mentioned, “Tomorrow Where the World Begins” Drew that John Marsden and the author of course is an educator, a school principal. And he’s written a beautiful thing called “A Prayer for the 21st Century” and I love the idea and Mem Fox is a champion of this in Australia that we we need to be reading out loud the children. We need to give them that love of words and vocabulary and what they hear and how they hear Dr. Seuss. And so in Marsden’s prayer for the 21st century, “May gardens be wild, like jungles, may nature never be tamed, may danger create us heroes, may fears always have names” and it goes on. And there’s just beauty in the rhyme, there’s beauty in the meaning and when when we hear it and read it out loud and when a group reads it out loud, it does that thing that I guess what I look for Drew is the things that get the hairs on the back of my neck to stand up and whether that’s a thriller that does it, or whether it’s an ideas book, or whether it’s something as beautifully simple and yet layered as Steven Covey’s Seven Habits for Highly Defective Thinking, whether it’s fiction, or nonfiction or poetry, that thing that really moves my heart. And sometimes, I think we’ve just got to stretch our brain. We’ve got to reach something that really, “Geez, I’m not sure if I like this. Geez, I’m not sure if I understand this.” It’s too easy to fall back into easy patterns I think. So sometimes, we need to grow. I’m just every now and again chucking something that we’d never normally read. There are CEOs I work with who have never read Shakespeare, tackle Shakespeare or tackle the Hogarth series where modern writers like John Masefield are writing Macbeth. They’re updating the Shakespeare stories to today’s world and when you get excited by that, then you might read the Shakespeare and then you’ll see these issues that are part of being human and humanity that what reading does for us as human beings is that it grows the brain and heart in a very special way.

Dr. Drew:  Yes, I agree. I recently got into a debate, we’re in a local library not long ago down in Brisbane and they had this whole concept of getting into this as Mem Fox says getting books read to kids. So I don’t know if you’re aware and listeners probably are or not. But some of our libraries are now doing this. I was in a library recently doing getting some books for research, there was a bit of a discussion going on some people they had drag queens coming in and reading books to kids. And there was quite a bit of contention over this, I don’t know if anyone’s aware of this is going on. But I was particularly asked, “What do you think of that?” Now I stood and listened for good 20 minutes of this drag queen in full drag reading this book to these kids. The kids were so excited. It was like a fourth dimensional book, a 3D book. He has this very bright and colorful diverse different almost like a fairy queen type person reading a very fantasy book about unicorns, and rainbows and so forth and connecting those kids with this picture book in a very different way. I didn’t have any issue with it. Some of the people were like, “This is disgusting.” I thought the narrow-mindedness, here we are in a library, in a building filled with literature that a lot of modern kids probably don’t walk into and here they are building a bridge and a connection between that modern kid, and a modern world and the old way of books and reading a literature. I thought it was inspirational, I thought it was good. The context of the book was perfect, it was all fantasy, rainbows, and unicorns, and fairies and fairyland. In right in front of these children was this nasty drag queen full of color rainbows, glitter and everything else and I thought it was appropriate. But like you say Glenn it’s that connection that’s inspiring the child to start reading books. And I think in a modern world if we can connect kids with books more and build that relationship, and communication and motivation towards a book, we can probably start to influence children to find themselves or lose themselves in a book. Get that hair standing up on the back of their neck and find a book that inspires them.  

Glenn:  As you say Drew, those who are challenged for reading, my brother is severely dyslexic to hear books. Mum will read out loud to Gary. And eventually later in life, he became a reader, he doesn’t read a lot of different things but he will read a single book again, and again, and again and from it gained so much depth. So if you’ve got kids who are struggling with the written word, introduce them to the audio, this is why Dr. Seuss was so brilliant. My friend Gordon Dryden interviewed people on radio in New Zealand for decades, he said the best interview he ever had was with Dr. Seuss because his understanding of language and the sound of language and why we need the phonics of that language. When we’re reading, “Green Eggs and Ham,” then it’s not just about green eggs and hams. It’s the sound of the language and what it does to create you to have the building blocks for creating language. So maybe one of the best books is Booker T. & the M.G.’s and Green Onions was their song and that goes perfectly with Green Eggs and Ham.

Dr. Drew:  Amanda, they sit around and of course all of us who sit in a speaker’s zone at some point in our careers and I’m interested in Wayne’s concept on this too as I ask the question to the panel. There’s a lot of stuff out there in the business world Glenn and Wayne, it’s about a CEO should read 50 books a year. The general concept is it’s good to read at least 12 books a year. Now I will tell you right now, I would struggle with 12 full books a year. I’d probably read 20 different books or different sections of a particular book to get some information or knowledge that I want out of it. I’d probably read three books a year from top to bottom and probably over again because it’s a particular book I really want to absorb and know. But I don’t really well to this this “Read 50 books, and you’ll be the best or you have to read 12 books.” I’ll give you some statistics. Currently in the world today, Baby Boomers are the biggest consumers of literature in the world and believe it or not everybody, Kindle is the preferred method of reading. Kindle is an electronic book system where you download the book into a like an iPad book, built specifically for books. And Kindle has got a massive ratio draw or download rate with people over the age of 65 so that’s an interesting concept. So I don’t think it’s a case you have to physically by a book, read a book and doable but Kindle is very cheap, you can buy cheap books with Kindle. But what do you think about that concept? Would you read 12 to 50 books a year and if you do value that or build that mantra, why are you doing that? Wayne?

Wayne:  Well for my part, I read in two or three different categories. Things that I’ve read because I want a particular piece of research-based knowledge or information from yes, 50 and above. But they tend to be as you put it dipping in for knowledge, pamphlets rather than books. The books that I read that I like that changed my life are books that I read for pleasure, they tend to be paperback not on Kindle or other electronic forms. I read electronically for work, I read on paper for pleasure. They have to be capable of being screwed over backwards and bent out of shape so I can get the pillow, and the glasses, and the lamp and the book all lined up in an alignment. They have to tolerate living in the bathroom and sometimes needing to be thrown out through unpleasant falls, and trips in bad places. The beauty of books for me is and I’m not a bibliophile in that I don’t collect them, I don’t have a library. As you can see behind me my wall is distressingly bear compared with some of our guests. But I buy them, I write on the most scribble on them, I’ve used them entirely for my pleasure and so a book in pristine condition is a poor and unloved thing indeed in my opinion. But no, I wouldn’t get to 50, I’d probably get to 6 but they are read slowly, every word is savored, every chapter is loved and they all never, never do we stop before we get to the end.

Dr. Drew:  And what about you Amanda? You were going to say something before that.

Amanda:  I was going to say, I would probably read a good chunk of books, every year I could input a number on it. But I am very similar to what you were saying Drew is that I’ll pick up a book and I’ll the read a section that really interests me, like if it’s a business book or something like that, or a speaking book. I might pick it up, read a section, get everything I need out of that section and then put the book away. But to read a full book, it would be a paperback not a Kindle. Very similar to what you were saying Wayne, I actually read paperback for pleasure because they travel with me. I will actually be on a plane with a paperback which I know people think is ridiculous because you could put it on your Kindle or your iPad and it moves so much easier with you. But I like how it feels on my fingers.

Dr. Drew:  I’m pretty sneaky Amanda, I’m in airports a lot and I have a tendency to read chapters and snippets while standing in the book shop at the airport.

Amanda:  I can go and do that as well.

Dr. Drew:  Within a week, I can pretty much get through a whole book by five airports.

Amanda:  So I do read the digital ones but digital tends to be more for work but I really do like picking up a book, reading the section I want to read and then putting it away. But if you’re doing something like Bron like the new kind of cop shop kind of book or thriller type thing, I’ll pick that up and read the whole thing but for pleasure.

Dr. Drew:  And I know Bron, you’re probably like me, you’ve discussed it before you probably like the electronic books that are read to you, the vocab books.

Bron:  Actually, I don’t do any audiobooks at all. Like what everybody has said so far, “I read the electronic for work, I read paperback for pleasure.” And again, there is this connection for pleasure with the tactile qualities that a paperback holds. But you can, as you say Wayne, you curl it up when you’re reading in bed. You fold the back and if you’ve got yourself (crosstalk), that’s the one or you curled up on the lounge, I’m a big curl or upper on the lounge sort of gir. I have opened a book, just read a chapter at a time, I dip into it but I read it all the way through unless of course it’s a book that I get into the third chapter and I go, “No, I don’t like this.” So I like the fact that you can read in different ways but certainly when I was doing my degree, it was dip into books and that certainly Glenn where the challenge lies because I would read some of the academic writing and go, “I think maybe I get what they’re talking about.” But you just keep reading so that you get a notion and it strengthens your thinking.

Dr. Drew:  I can’t read a business book from front to back. It absolutely does my head in. Glenn?

Glenn:  My interest in, the brain that comes to me in life is that I’ve always kept lists and I’ve been an avid reader all of my life and I’ve kept a list of everything I’ve ever read. And I read at least 100 books a year and had done ever since I was 13 to 14 years of age. I wasn’t taking the list to go, “Let’s get more, more, more.” The list was to keep track of what my learning was and still is. What’s important to me in that is that I have a variety of these days. I mix up fiction and some of the highbrows, some of it lowbrows, some of it whatever. I mix up nonfiction business read about neuro, read about research books and I mix in poetry as well and I think that that combo is important. And within that combo I mean, it’s also I return. I often will summarize a book that I’ve read in my own journal and I returned to my journals for the learning that that book give me. And I do, I keep the books, there’s certain books I read, I have to read in print and I love them in print. There’s other books I can read on my iPad or in a Kindle type version so I mix that up even. So combo is important to me, not just quantity but the quality and the diversity of reading and types of reading.

Dr. Drew:  Well I think all in all, it sounds like as a group and a panel talking to Boomers and our listeners will probably resonate with a lot. We may have the opportunity through this to get some of our panelists or get some of our listeners to send us through their thoughts on books Wayne perhaps or get us to read a book as a panel that inspires or gives Boomers a thought. I of course can’t wait, I have to have the opportunity to plug my book which is my book written to Baby Boomers and that’s “Aging in the New Age” but if I’ll continue to write in that space for Boomers because I believe there’s big messages and big things just to get Boomers inspired to do more as we age. But for me, I don’t know this must be a final line of thought for everybody on what we spoke about today and again, I thank Glenn for raising this issue because for me, it’s a good panel discussion. It’s great issue to get people thinking, probably turn their head away after today and get them to come pick up a book. But reading is important – it develops the mind, it helps you understand yourself and others, helps them grow, it helps the ability to get knowledge and think. I think it’s a good stress reliever for a lot of people and we’ve all discussed the same thing, it’s a good mechanism of teaching and a teaching pathway to our youth and the people underneath us and people we want to influence. So what’s your final thoughts on finding a good book, being inspired by a good book and how can books change your life? Amanda?

Amanda:  I would say in order to find a book, you just actually have to get out there and start looking so regardless if it’s on your Kindle, or a local bookstore or my favorites are the cafe book stores so I can actually have coffee while I’m doing that. Get out there and read and just pick up something and if it resonates with you, get on it and try to implement it as best as you can. And if it doesn’t resonate, put it back on the shelf and get another one like there’s plenty of books to choose from so just go and do something. Do the reading that you enjoy and that you feel is gonna propel you to somewhere else.

Dr. Drew:  And Glenn?

Glenn:  I’m gonna go to the poetry of song lyrics of course. So the beautiful Marty Robbins song “Herman’s Hermits” had a version of it called, “The Story of My Life” – have a listen to that. One Direction have even got a Story of My Life, a different song but a story song. But the song I want to go to is “Who wrote the Book of Love” 1960s, it’s probably resonating in some people’s heads. Who Wrote the Book of Love, and if you read a Book of Love by Jacqueline Susan, it’s a very different read than the Book of Love by Khalil Gibran, something like the Prophet. But I reckon we should read both. Really read some of the trashy wonderful stuff, get a hold of old Harold Robbins and just shake your head as you read it and at the same time read Khalil Gibran and that deep beautiful poetic philosophies of life. Read wildly and varied.

Dr. Drew:  Beautiful. Bron?

Bron:  Well I’m going to finish with a piece of poetry because I think it was poetry that spoke to me earliest as a child giving me a love of words. “James James, Morrison Morrison Weatherby George Dupree Took great Care of his Mother, although he was only three. James James said to his Mother, Mother he said, said he. If you ever go down to the end of the town but don’t go down with me.”

Dr. Drew:  Thank you. And my last comment basically is focused right to our listeners and our Boomers and those who are ageing is pick up a good book, it boosts your brainpower. Regular reading is like regular exercise if you ask me. It’ll help with memory help with conditioning and help you to be regularly improving the function of the brain which is something we need to hold on to as we age. Don’t isolate yourself, get lost in a good book and meet some new people in that book. And I’m gonna hand over to our co-host, Wayne, let him finishes off for the session. Wayne?

Wayne:  And so we come to the end of yet another hour of Booms Day Prepping where we’ve been having a look at some things that we’ve read that changed our lives. As normal, it’s been lovely to spend some time with our panelists, thank you all when Glenn Capelli, Bron Williams, Amanda Lambros and Drew Dwyer, our co-host. This week we’ve talked about some of the things that we read that changed our lives and in fairness to our panelists, we did spend some time talking about that before we digress as we often do into other matters about the benefits of reading, the benefits of reading electronically versus on paper, and hardcovers, and paperbacks and other formats of reading. But we’ve left with a consistent message I think and that is reading is pretty much an essential part of our lives and doing it is good for you. So do continue your reading. For those of you who are bored with your reading of course, you can always listen to our podcast, Booms Day Prepping comes to you every week and if you’re listening on social media, please remember those little icons at the bottom of the screen – the likes, the shares, the smiles, even the frowns. We love your feedback and we appreciate knowing there are people out there listening to us so please click all those boxes and do all those things. This is Booms Day Prepping, my name is Wayne Bucklar.

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