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