The statistics are not encouraging. According to Pew Research, 24 percent of American adults say they haven’t read a book in the past year. That means any book. One in print, on an iPad, or in audio form. Even a children’s book. Pew dissected the demographics. (You can click here to read more about the survey.) But putting that aside, I found the fact that people are not reading books disheartening. Yes, I’ve written books and after launching a publishing company, have helped others to publish their books. And book reviews are a stable on Woman Around Town. The writers who contribute to the site love to read and love to recommend books they have enjoyed to others.
Barbara Bush who died recently, was known for her love of reading. Her interest in literacy issues began after her son, Neil, struggled with dyslexia. The former first lady made it her mission to encourage reading. The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, a non-profit organization based in Florida, has as its focus preschool children and parental literacy. She even wrote a book credited to the family dog called Millie’s Book: As Dictated to Barbara Bush. The book reached number one on the New York Times list and earned more than a million dollars, which she donated to her foundation.
It’s no secret that a love for reading often begins in childhood and parents who read to their children, not only get to spend valuable time together, but also share wonderful stories. J.K. Rowling was credited with igniting an interest in reading for young and old alike because of her Harry Potter series.
Yet when Jimmy Kimmel sent a camera crew out into the streets to ask people to name a book – any book – those on camera couldn’t name even one. Perhaps having a microphone thrust in one’s face caused some people to freeze up. But even that excuse fell short. One woman couldn’t name a book and when asked what she did, she said she was once a librarian! Yikes!
The Jimmy Kimmel segment ended with a public service announcement featuring Shaquille O’Neal saying: “All you have to do is pick up a book. Because when you do, adventures come to you.”
Amen. (And that’s from one book – the Bible.)
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