This morning I'm thinking a lot about high school. Probably because one of my very good friends, who was involved in lots of high school activities with me, was last night's Jeopardy champion. Needless to say, it was an exciting night in my small hometown. Scott is now a features editor at one of the major newspapers in Kentucky, and I'm pretty sure he appreciates words and is a well-read man. One of the things he did in preparation of his Jeopardy appearances was read the World Almanac. I'm now curious enough that I may have to order a copy for myself. Imagining what interesting tidbits of information he found in the almanac is fascinating. And it made me realize again how valuable reading is... how powerful it is to take the written word from the page to our minds. Of course, his reading of the World Almanac wasn't the only reason for his success. Scott is an exceptionally smart guy... always has been. I could've told everyone fifteen years ago that he could succeed at Jeopardy. But here's the thing. Scott is well-rounded. He reads. He sees movies. He appreciates art. He travels. He hasn't allowed the "small town Kentucky" stereotype to limit him. And why should he?
Of course, I was playing along last night as I watched. I was shouting "Great Britain" at the television during the question about Ben Nevis being the highest peak on this largest European Island. Fortunately, the first contestant to ring in got it wrong and Scott was able to buzz in and answer correctly. How did I know this, you ask? Well, I've read lots of fictional books set in Scotland, where Ben Nevis is. It's instilled a love of the Scottish culture in me... enough that I've purchased several travel books on Scotland, and even took an online course in Scottish History last year. So, from reading that first fictional book set in Scotland (which by the way, was Diana Gabaldon's Outlander), I eventually learned information that would've helped me answer a question right on Jeopardy. And that's not the first time that's happened, nor the only time it happened during last night's episode. Every time I watch Jeopardy, there are questions I know the answer to because I READ THEM IN A BOOK.
Learning while being entertained is one of my favorite things about reading. Last night I was reminded again the value of reading, both for pleasure and for information. How nice that the pleasure and learning can happen simultaneously within the pages of a book.