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Teddy Roosevelt and His Love of Reading

Marion Charatan

Posted on October 27, 2019 15:40

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The politician, conservationist, naturalist, and writer had a lifelong love of reading which is detailed in a Mental Floss article and upcoming Podcast.

I was fortunate to grow up with parents who always encouraged literacy. My beautiful mom, who generously volunteered countless hours for literacy, told me that I used to sit on the floor at age 2 with a book on my lap, reading out loud.

My wonderful dad, a physician, always promoted learning and reading. When I was a child, he always asked me to look up an answer in the encyclopedia if I had questions—not because he didn’t care but because he DID care. He wanted to teach me to develop research skills. I have carried these lessons from my parents, whom I miss every day, into my professional work.

Reading about history is important not only because we learn from the past but are reminded of what NOT to repeat.

Apparently, President Teddy Roosevelt, who was President from 1901-1909, read a book a day; impressive. I can’t attest to that, but I will say I read, on average, two books a week—and I wish it were more.

I’m a radiophile and have worked in the business forever. What a great idea for Iheart Radio to launch a podcast about history. Their first endeavor highlights Teddy Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States and founder of The Rough Riders who fought in the Spanish-American War.

My first exposure to President Roosevelt's life was when I visited Sagamore Hill, the majestic home he lived in from 1885 until his death at age 60 in 1919. It is a lovely and rustic home in a park-like setting in Cove Neck, New York; not far from where I grew up in Syosset, NY.

Buffalo and moose trophys on the walls, wood-finished floors, and high ceilings were features of the estate—I remember it all like it was yesterday.

What fascinates me is the veracity of an article the ex-President penned for Ladies' Home Journal in In April 1915, called “The Books That I Read and When and How I Do My Reading."

The first tip is to start reading young. That is exactly what my own parents did with my brother, sisters, and me. Roosevelt observed, “Fathers and mothers who are wise can train their children first to practice, and soon to like, the sustained mental application necessary to enjoy good books.

He goes on to say you should read what you like. I have always done that. My preference is non-fiction. I lived in Princeton, NJ for a time and one librarian remarked to me that he had never seen anyone take out so many non-fiction books. I've given up on forcing myself to read novels just because they might land on The New York Times Bestseller List. However, I do agree with reading classics if you can and taking recommendations with a grain of salt. One more thing -- I prefer holding an "old-fashioned" book any day of the week over a Kindle. There is something intimate and comforting about that.

Marion Charatan

Posted on October 27, 2019 15:40

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Source: WTSP

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