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Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I ran across an interesting literacy statistic the other day. “The average American annually spends 10 times more on what he puts on his head than what he puts into his head.”

Here are some other interesting thoughts.

* If you read just one book a month for 12 straight months, you will be in the top 25 percentile of all intellectuals in the world.

* If you read five books on one subject, you are one of the world's foremost leading authorities on that subject.

* If you read just 15 minutes -- every day for one year -- you can complete 20 books.

It doesn’t sound like it is hard to be well read. Of course 15 minutes with Superman comic books is probably not what the creator of those comments had in mind. Reading isn't expensive either. you can read great writing for free and even some not so great more resent works for practically nothing.

Yes, the internet is one source. I like the Project Gutenberg site. It was the first producer of free electronic books and they have over 25,000 free books. They are classics that are beyond copyright protection so you can get anything from Plato to Shakespeare. Yes, that’s fiction and non-fiction. They even have books in over fifty different languages if you are so incline to read something in Gamilaraay or in Swedish.

There is your local library. It may seem old fashion but, it is still nice to have a warm dry place to go with friendly knowledgeable people around to help you find a great read and actually sit quietly and leave the now behind for a while! How "novel" is that? I always enjoyed sitting in a comfy chair in a quiet corner of the library to read feeling almost decadent with the luxury of it all.

There are lots of media to use too. I’m just old fashioned enough to still prefer a book. But I have adjusted to reading on screen. Hard to write notes in the margins though. LOL

It is a marvel of our times that through public education we have so many writers and writing opportunity. Yes, a lot is junk. I remember a line from a Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home in which the crew travels back in time to San Francisco of the 1990s, Cpt. Kirk describes the era to Spock as a time known for it’s trashy novels and cheap architecture. He names a few writers known for their sex scenes and overly simplified plots ( I think he mentions Danielle Steele). We also have far easier access to good writers and good writing on any subject – fiction or not – you could possibly want.

Is it really so difficult to read fifteen minutes once a day? How about reading to your kids before they go to bed? The parental responsibility to enhance children’s potential is so easy to do this way and reaps so many benefits just by sharing a little time reading. I loved reading Uncle Remus and all those Brer Rabbit tales to my kids.

1 comment:

Numinous Lady said...

People do need to read more. It's sad that Lulu's school feels the need to send notes home asking parents to read to their kids. Lulu pitches a royal fit if you DON'T read to One of my favorites that I want to own, is "Joshua and the Big Bad Blue Crabs" by the man who wrote Crazy in Alabama. I love that book. I can really let my southern drawl hang out while reading that book to Lulu. Brian, also,takes the time during the week to sit down with her and work on learning to read and write as well. I wish more people did it.
You can tell we are dumbing down...just watch Jeopardy one day. I am blown away with the easiness of the questions now! It really is a sad joke now. I loved it growing up.
I love my library, personally. I have found some really interesting writers on those shelves. Some, honestly, I was shocked to find. I also like the used book section where you can buy the donated books super cheap, often for under a quarter, to benefit the library.
People would rather watch tv in bed than read a book to go to sleep.