January 10, 2008
Please mark your calendar.
Because, well, I'm asking you a favor.
But first a story. About a story. Or really a book.
Do you remember reading late at night, in your childhood bed, way past your bedtime a book you just couldn't put down?
One of those books for me was The Princess Bride. Yes, young readers, it was a book before a movie and a brilliant book at that. The premise was that the father didn't want to read the book to his son so when his kid wasn't interested in reading this book he came to find out that his own father had skipped the so-called "boring" parts about such things as horse trading, geo-politics, and naming trends in a far away land.
What we then get is the "good parts" version of The Princess Bride. He alludes to the boring sections but it only enhances the over all storytelling and obviously those never made it into the movie (doesn't that make you wish you read the book?).
So, deep under the covers, way past my bedtime, Buttercup is being pulled by the Dread Pirate Roberts along a steep ravine near the Fire Swamp. She eventually pushes him into the deep valley to avenge the death of her love and as he tumbles down he yells "As you wish....."
And I nearly screamed from under the covers. I remember distinctly my childhood bedroom, the sheets and the complete shock when I realized, along with Buttercup, it was him. Him!
Imagine not having that experience? Of not having a book take you completely out of who you are? Where you live? Of seeing the characters only in your head.
And, according to research, did you know that reading books is linked to civic engagement?
I recently read about a National Endowment for the Arts report that young folks aren't reading like they used to. Get this:
- only 30% of 13-year-olds read almost every day
- the number of 17-year-olds who never read for pleasure increased from 9 percent in 1984 to 19 percent in 2004 - that is 1 in 5 kids don't read for fun
- Almost half of Americans between ages 18 and 24 never read books for pleasure
- The average person between ages 15 and 24 spends 2 to 2 1/2 hours a day watching TV and 7 minutes reading
Does that quote give you chills? It does me. So that's why I'm asking folks, myself included, to take time one day in January to stop blogging - for the entire day or part of the day - and use the blogging time to read. A book. A magazine. A newspaper.
"The poorest Americans who read did twice as much volunteering and charity work as the richest who did not read. The habit of regular reading awakens something inside a person that makes him or her take their own life more seriously and at the same time develops the sense that other people's lives are real."
Take the button (email me at amitchells AT yahoo DOT com for the code) and please paste it in a post as well as your sidebar.
Write about this. About what books, magazines, newspapers mean to you. Write a couple of posts about writings that have taken you to another place. And mark Thursday, January 10, 2008 as Day to Read. Then on Friday, January 11th, write a bit about what you read.
And thank you.