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Zach of All Trades/Zach Kukkonen

If I only had the time...

March 8, 2012
The Daily Mining Gazette

As a full-time employee and full-time student, free time is a luxury for me these days. Any time not in class or at work is likely spent sleeping or doing homework.

If I do have some extra time here and there, I usually end up slumped in front of the TV, watching movies or playing video games, too tired to do much else. This saddens me, as I don't have the time or energy to take part in what used to be one of my favorite pastimes: Reading.

For as long as I can remember, I have gobbled up any book or newspaper I could lay my hands on. Growing up, it was "Encyclopedia Brown," "Choose Your Own Adventure" and Judy Blume books. As I grew older, the content graduated to the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, Tom Clancy and John Grisham. Even the literature classes that introduced me to Shakespeare, Joseph Conrad and Joseph Heller were enjoyable because at my core, I just adore digging through good books.

Yet when I arrived at my first go-round of college, that love hit the backburner for a while. With the immense amounts of reading required for classes, any pleasure reading still ended up feeling like work. However, as soon as class was released for winter or summer break, the love returned en masse, as I ran through the novels of Hemingway and Salinger.

However, since I graduated the first time, for some reason or another, I can't seem to sustain any sort of reading pattern. I'll go through spurts where I can't get enough, but life or my various gadgets get in the way. I'm still only halfway through "Don Quixote," and am making my way through five other books, including a collection of Ellen Goodman newspaper columns, a Ben Bradlee autobiography, an investigation into what caused 9/11, "The Fountainhead" and "The Idiot." At this rate, with that daunting list, I will finish one of those five by approximately 2047.

But as spring (slowly) approaches, I'm thinking the change in the seasons is just the kick in the shin I need to get back into the reading habit. As the weather gets better, I'm hoping the increase in sunshine and temperature gets me out of the house and curled under a tree with a good read. The younger and less technologically dependent version of me would appreciate that.

Zach Kukkonen can be reached at



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