First of all thank you for your smart and fun comments. I read them all and, as before, I’m going to respond to some this month:
Jocelyn rightly points out that one doesn’t need to spend lavishly on books to enjoy them, and reminds us that we can find some pretty good books for free at the library. I fear she was worrying that I was equating not spending on books with some sort of personal failure, but I think the article was merely noticing the fact that Americans are spending less and less on books, and taking that as a symptom of how books are becoming less and less popular. Clearly she’s not part of that distressing trend, nor are June, Lee Ann, and Renee.
On the more controversial end of the spectrum, Gabriel suggests that, “Reading a book is alright as a distraction from studies or while waiting for a bus, but overall it serves little purpose and can even be detrimental.” And I applaud him for being so articulate on the subject—maybe it was partly through the books he read in school that he learned to get his ideas across as well as he does? At any rate, I’d very much like to see any research that shows reading books to be a bad thing. Personally, I expect it will be hard to find any.
I also suspect Gabriel’s school-based reading experience may have been limited—as my own was—to books that didn’t really work for him. I happen to like Moby Dick these days, but it’s not everybody’s cup of tea, especially among young readers who may not be ready for that 700-page whale of a book.
And thank you, Terrie, for your own very articulate response to Gabriel’s post.
Shawna, like Gabriel, is also clearly not gobbling up everything I’ve written and goes further to suggest she doesn’t like my books. I happen to like popcorn myself (and confess I’m not quite so sure what “popcorn trash” is) but I am glad she’s at least reading my blog entries. Maybe she would care, as did Sarah, to suggest some other books she does enjoy?
Finally, I’d like to just point out some of my favorite 1-liners from that batch of postings:
“Turn off the tv and read a good book!” –Mary
“When the world outside is crazy and stressful, a good book is like a mini-vacation. A step away from the world and a chance to breath and relax. LONG LIVE THE WRITTEN WORD!” –June
“Reading is important and can be a way to escape the hum drums.” –Debbie
“There is no substitute for reading. It's far better than movie or TV version. It has a world of its own...in our minds.” –Baklita
“The principal complaint among employers is the poor writing/spelling/general communication skills among young applicants...” –Debra
And my personal favorite:
“I wish parents would hand children a book once and a while instead of a new video game.” –Rachel
I hope our words have a chance to cross paths again next week,
Also posted on James' Parenting Blog