It’s called a book. You read it.

Posted: February 13, 2014 in Books, family, fiction, Leisure, Life, Pop Culture, Reading
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
That should last me the week...

That should last me the week…

Fifty percent of my household didn’t read a single book last year.

That was my husband. Early in our relationship, he eyed the overflowing bookshelves in my apartment and said, “I don’t read.”

“You’re illiterate? I can teach you,” I offered.

“I know HOW to read. I just don’t read books.”

I don’t know how this marriage has survived so long.

I was raised by readers. My sister’s a reader as are all of my closest friends. I’ve carted favorite books thousands of miles, been late countless times because I couldn’t put a good book down, and if given the choice between buying a dinette set or a comfortable chair and a reading lamp, I will eat dinner over the kitchen sink…then go sit in my chair and read. People who don’t read puzzle me.

A recent Pew Center Research Poll shows that 23 percent of adults didn’t read a single book in 2013. That’s up from 16 percent in 1990 and 8 percent in 1978. And according to the National Endowment for the Arts, only 47% of Americans say they read a book for pleasure in 2012.

Books give us knowledge, insight, inspiration, ideas, truths, lies, instructions, humor, emotional release, a chance to dream, an opportunity to escape, a place to go even if it’s just in our heads. Why WOULDN’T you read one?

RIF (Reading is Fundamental) was still a fairly new literacy program in the early 1970’s when I was learning how to read but its message was already solid: knowing how to read was the key to unlocking a world of doors and it wasn’t just a useful skill, it could also be FUN. I believed that as a kid; now as a bigger kid, I still believe it.

Maria Keller does, too. Maria’s a 13-year-old from Minneapolis, MN who founded her own non-profit organization to promote literacy. When she was 8, she started collecting used books and since then, with the help of thousands of people around the country, her organization Read Indeed has given 1 million books to schools, hospitals and community centers in 30 states and more than a dozen foreign countries. What can you say? The kid likes to read.

Anyone can spread the joy of reading. I recently received some literary love from my 9-year-old nephew who said, “Hey, I got you something” and handed me this:

Kid-approved reading material

Kid-approved reading material

It came from his school book fair; I also got a complimentary Minions’ poster and pencil eraser. Did you know that “Bello” is a popular greeting among Minions and that “Poopaye” is how they say goodbye? True that. I read it in a book.

Read any good books lately? Find me on Goodreads and we can compare notes.

The more you read, the more things you will know.
The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go. – Dr. Seuss

  1. MrJohnson says:

    Reading books is overrated. I don’t see why non-book readers are frowned upon. It would be the same as being puzzled by someone who doesn’t like football. A person can get information/entertainment from other sources like audio books, people and the internet. There’s this cultural idea that people who read are better in some way than those who don’t. The way I see it is that some people like to read and others do not just like how some people like bio-chemistry and others do not.

    • I don’t know that I frown upon non-book readers (it doesn’t bother me that my husband is one except when I want to tell him about a really good book I’m reading) and I do agree that audio books are a great option for people who want to hear a good story without having to physically read it. While it’s true that we get the bulk of our information these days from the internet, whether you’re reading it or watching a video or interacting on social media, I think it’s the not reading for pleasure thing that I don’t get. Reading is my thing, it may not be your thing but if we all liked the same things, what would we have to talk about? Thanks for commenting and raising some good points.

  2. Becca says:

    I have a cloudy memory which is probably the result of the story being told over and again of reading my father’s army first aid book at the age of 3 but freaking my mother out because I was reading aloud about rattle snake bites. Growing up my mother said countless times, “If you read you can do anything!” I absolutely love getting lost in a book and “seeing” the characters. Reading is an amazing therapy for me.

  3. Nisha says:

    I also can’t believe my boyfriend and I have been together for so long- he also doesn’t read much and he thinks I’m a freak for liking books!
    I understand what MrJohnson is saying about how people are different and how it doesn’t have to be everyone’s thing. But there is magic to be found in books that is often lacking in other media, so I’m grateful I love to read. 🙂

    ps. the Minions are awesome! 😀

    • Having partners who aren’t readers means we don’t have to share bookshelf space. Always great to hear from you, Nisha! And my Minions empire continues to grow – the latest edition came with a slide whistle. I don’t know where that kid finds these things. =)

  4. Came home two days ago with a stack of library books. Nothing makes me feel richer — except maybe all the books (unread) on my shelves. Not sure how anyone learns much without reading.

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