Are you an Avid Reader?

October 30th, 2007

“The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them.”– Mark Twain

Avid Reader If you were to walk into our home, you would see books everywhere. The only rooms in our home that don’t have books would be the: garage, formal dining room, and breakfast nook. Yes, even the bathrooms have books in them. As a family, we love to read. We could easily spend hours in a book store (not to mention hundreds of dollars), if we had the time/money.

As Christmas gets closer, I start thinking of good books to give as gifts. Many of the people that know our family, usually aren’t suprised when a book comes their way. Toys lose their charm. A good book can stay with you until the binding comes apart and pages fly in the breeze.

I wonder how many Americans read. Not that they can read, that they DO read. I know an intelligent woman that prides herself on not reading books. My mother-in-law works with a woman that hasn’t read a book in 10+ yrs. since she graduated college. She is actually proud of the fact. I find that quite sad.

I read something disturbing today: “A 1999 Gallup Poll found that only 7 percent of Americans were voracious readers, reading more than a book a week, while some 59 percent said they had read fewer than 10 books in the previous year. The number of people who don’t read at all, the poll concluded, has been rising for the past 20 years.”

I realize that television and the Internet play a key roll in why people don’t read. Another reason might be that Americans are constantly rushing around. Are we giving ourselves time to read? How many Americans turn off the television and sit down to read? When I was a kid, my parents got rid of the television for a while. At first, my brother and I HATED it. However, after a while we didn’t miss it. We filled the “t.v. hours” with books, family games, and playing outside. I think that many Americans have forgotten to do that.

I know that Gallup study is old. I wonder how Americans measure up today? Are we reading more or less? I am trying to do my share. I have read 30 books this year and would like to get in 35 before 2007 ends. Maybe I can make 40 next year?

This morning, I was at the USPS shipping out 12 books (2 book clubs I am on and ones I have sold on Ebay). The clerk at the counter asked: “What kind of books do you sell?” I replied: “Classics and good books mostly.” The clerk said: “Well, I really don’t like to read.” To which I replied: “Our family loves to read. I have read 30 books so far this year and am shooting for 35.” The lady in line behind me pops up and says: “30?! I don’t think I have read that many books in my entire life!” Makes you wonder how many folks out in America feel the same way about reading. They sure are missing out.

Not only does our family love to read, so do my in-laws and extended family. For example, our Great-Grandmother is 84 and has a sharp mind. You know why? She is a voracious reader (reading 5-7 books a week), does crafts, loves puzzles, and loves problem solving. I honestly believe that by keeping her brain “busy”, she is keeping the signs of mental aging at bay. I could be wrong. I hope I still have a sharp mind at 84.

For those little ones on my Christmas list, you are getting books this year. May you delight in Beatrix Potter, Maurcie Sendak, Tolkein, Roald Dahl, Jules Verne, Shel Silverstein, and Cornelia Funke on Christmas day. Enjoy their words. They stay with you forever.

6 Responses to “Are you an Avid Reader?”

  1. BayAreaDM Says:

    I don’t mean to offend, and I know you probably think I’m just trying to “get a rise out of you”, but here’s my question: what’s with the preaching? That’s the real underlying them of your blog as of late. People that don’t read is a perfect example – not everyone has the time to read 30 books a year. It must be nice to be able to “afford” to stay at home, but that is not the reality. I read maybe three or four books a year, and that is a ton of time. I read lots of other stuff – trade magazines, news articles, this blog; is that a crime? Plus, let’s face it, a lot of books are not very good, and many are just a waste of time. Sorry, it’s true. I’ve gotten to the stage of literacy where merely reading the printed word is not enough – it must have some sort of relevance in my life.

    Between the fat people, the irresponsible parents, and the Democrats, the negativity on your blog is a real turn-off (and that is just on the current page). You and you family seem to be very content. Contentness comes in many sizes, shapes, and colors.

  2. Shan Says:

    Thank you for your insightful interpretation of my blog. I look at this blog of mine as a digital diary. I can jot down my thoughts, gripes, praises, and anything else that I feel like “getting off my chest”. Some like what I have to say, some do not. For those that disagree, you have every right to your opinion. You also have the right not to read what I have to say. This wonderful land of ours allows you to think as you do.

    These folks had people that didn’t like their opinions too:

    “Honest disagreement is often a good sign of progress.”-Mahatma Gandhi

    “Someone’s opinion of you does not have to become your reality.”-Les Brown

    “It is always brave to say what everyone thinks.”- George Duhamel

    “No two men see the world exactly alike, and different temperaments will apply in different ways a principle that they both acknowledge. The same man will, indeed, often see and judge the same things differently on different occasions: early convictions must give way to more mature ones. Nevertheless, may not the opinions that a man holds and expresses withstand all trials, if he only remains true to himself and others?” -Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

    “Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even incapable of forming such opinions.” -Albert Einstein

    Amen to that!

  3. BayAreaDM Says:

    You sure do not let an opportunity slip by to demonstrate how well-read and educated you supposedly are, do you? I guess the temptation is just too much. I have a book of quotes, too.

    If Ghandi had kept a blog, it would not have oozed quite as much self-righteousness as this one recently. Even your chosen quotes are self-righteous! That’s awesome.

  4. Tony Says:

    Danny, hate the ‘preaching’? I’ll help you. Go up to the upper right corner of this window. See that little ‘x’? Click it.

    There. Now you’ll have more time to read other stuff that agrees with you. Last I checked no one was forcing you to come here. And, yes, you do come here to try to get a rise out of her and it’s getting old.

  5. BayAreaDM Says:

    I like reading just about any opinion, whether it agrees with me or not. It makes me a more rounded person. I believes that is what most of those quotes above meant, so I believe Shan and I are in agreement on that point.

    Thanks for your advice, Tony. Duly noted.

  6. jjabl Says:

    Yes, READING is FUNdamental. I am an avid book reader. Yes, there are plenty of trash books out there. How do you find them or know to avoid them if you don’t read??? there are many more good books out there than bad from what I have read.
    We have books in every room of our house too. Usually more than one bookcase full in every room. We all read. I grew up with avid readers. Two brothers don’t have pleasure books in their house, but they have most of the magazines and articles about what really interests them. That is great too! BTW two of the nieces became teachers and have lots of books in their homes now.
    The other brother and my sister too have lots of pleasure reading books in their homes along with books from their careers and schooling. Both my in-laws and my parents have lots of books. Most of us work outside the home so we are not home all the time to read. What we do do is turn off the TV (not sure the last time it was on in my house) and we READ!!
    It transports us to different lands, different times, to far away places with many different cultures. What a fantastic way to create and nurture an imagination. I am almost always disappointed in movies made from books. In fact, I usually don’t go see them because I like the way the printed word painted the story for me and my imagination made it come alive for me.
    I don’t think Shan has been preaching lately. She has an opinion and last time I checked, has the freedom to express the it on her own blog.
    Yeah, Shan and her family are pretty content with their lives. That is awesome. Most folks aren’t. By the way, Shan and her family are great people to really know. And they don’t just stay home and read. Far from it….
    Oh yeah, my son always asks for book cards for his birthday and Christmas presents so that he can buy books and READ!!! Let imagination grow….

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