In defense of books

Lately, I’ve become more and more aware in my own life (and in the stories of my friends) with how our Netflix watching has — let’s be honest — gotten a little out of control.

I’m probably as guilty as the next person. (Sons of Anarchy, Breaking Bad, House of Cards, Scandal, Marco Polo, Longmire, Frontier, the list goes on…)

But one thing I’ve been noticing is that with the advent of streaming video services such as Netflix, we can feed our escapism desires to an unlimited degree. No longer do we have to wait a week for the next episode to release, as it once did with TV. No, now we can watch episode-after-episode until our heart’s content.

As a matter of act, I met a person this past month who (apparently) literally works and watches Netflix. He’s not married, in fact has never married, and he has no kids. He’s crossing the age of forty and in asking him several questions, he made clear to me that he has no hobbies or things he enjoys doing other than watching Netflix.

In fact, he told me he’d stayed up to two a.m. the night prior and added that when he’s not binge-watching a series, he’s catching up on his sleep because he’s irresponsibly stayed up too late, he relayed with a laugh.

I mean, I kind of get it. And I’m not trying to be judgy here, but there seriously has to be more to life than that.

And while I get we watch to often escape and get through life, while mentally preparing for another day at work that most of us don’t enjoy, for pay most of us need more of, I fear we’re digging holes for ourselves.

As such, I’d like to propose a possible solution beyond simply being more disciplined on how much we watch. My solution is a little old-fashioned or maybe hip? (Old is in, right?)

Yes, dear friend, I’m talking about reading more. We all know that reading has scientific benefits, such as improving vocabulary, sharpening your mind, reducing stress, and preventing cognitive decline in patients with dementia.

But it also gives you more time off and away from work. What I mean is that at least for me and most of my friends, you simply don’t read for as long of periods as you might binge-watch Netflix.

Time slows down when you read and your weekend is extended. No more three-hour sit fests in front of the screen; instead, I’m betting you’ll find yourself reading for a much shorter period, though it’ll feel longer than it actually is.

Often, I’ve gotten engrossed in a book and stopped reading, thinking, “Man, I’ve probably been reading for like two hours.” And almost always, only thirty or forty minutes have passed.

Plus, since it’s difficult to read for as long as you watch Netflix, it’s been my experience that you’ll find yourself doing more chores, dragging yourself out to exercise, etc.

And it’s these activities that lead to a higher over-all happiness.

As Sifu Shi Yan Ming says, “We always want things because we think they will make us happier, but they are just distractions and momentary fixes. True happiness comes from polishing your life. A life of action, not distraction.”

Bottom line, in my very biased opinion, I think books can provide us a better option to consume and enjoy some limited distraction in our modern-day lives.

We only have a very limited amount of time that we’re not stuck at work or at some required event we must go to. We need to maximize and use that time as best we can.

As Ming says, “A foolish person wishes for good things to happen to them, but fortune, success, and happiness, rarely just fall in your lap. You must grasp your life and sharpen it.”

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

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Stan R. Mitchell, author and prior Marine, is best known for his Nick Woods Marine Sniper series, which remained in the Top 100 on Amazon for more than three years. The series was also picked up by Audible.com for a multi-book audio deal. Additional works include a Western thrillerdetective series, and World War II story. Learn more at http://stanrmitchell.com.

Some pretty big news, and a big thanks to my supporters

So, members of Mitchell’s Militia. I’m kind of on Cloud 9 right now and I felt like I had to share it since you guys are completely the reason for it — and for some reason are tagging along with me on this journey.

Just a bit ago, I was getting in some much needed relaxing, and doing some kung fu before planning to get back on editing “Mexican Heat.”

And I had stopped to check my sales for the day — I do this way too much — and noticed my sales had jumped up a bit today. Immediately, like all newbie authors, I decided to check Amazon to see how high my ranking had climbed.

Unbelievably, Sold Out was at the following in its two listed genres:

  • #78 in the Top 100 in the Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Suspense > Political.
  • #89 in the Top 100 in the Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Political.

Can you believe that?! (Click this link here to see, if you look fast enough — they change hourly.)

I’m in the Top 100 of the same list that includes Vince Flynn, Brad Thor, Tom Clancy, Nelson Demille, Scott Turow, and others.

And I’m somehow in that list with no marketing support, no nationwide distribution, no big shot editor, no major publishing house behind me.

Without question, the only reason I’m there is because of you guys, so I just wanted to say thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!!

Thanks for following me. Thanks for encouraging me. Thanks for telling folks about me.

I know I won’t stay in that list for long — I don’t have enough reviews, name recognition, etc.– but for right now, I’m about as pumped as a man can get!

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

P.S. If you enjoy fast-paced books, you just might like my works. “Sold Out” tracks the life of a legendary Marine Sniper after a CIA unit decides to kill him for reasons of national security. “Little Man, and the Dixon County War” tells the uphill fight a young deputy faces after surviving three years of war only to find himself in the sights of a mighty cattle baron. And “Soldier On,” a short novel, follows the lives of several German soldiers in a depleted infantry company trying to make it through the final, miserable months of World War II.