Today’s Booking Through Thursday question:
There was a widely bruited-about statistic reported last week, stating that 1 in 4 Americans did not read a single book last year. Clearly, we don’t fall into that category, but . . . how many of our friends do? Do you have friends/family who read as much as you do? Or are you the only person you know who has a serious reading habit?
I read that article last week and was shocked – and saddened. I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised, though, judging from the inarguable fact that the majority of my students will read only when they are required to for school; even when I allow them to choose their own books, an unsettling number of them will inevitably cheat and try to fill in the blanks with Cliffs Notes or a similar study guide, with internet book reviews and summaries, or with reading some of the book and then skipping to the end.
As an English teacher, I am lucky enough to have friends who do read and with whom I can share and discuss books. My parents read on a daily basis, but their selections tend toward magazines and newspapers (Dad) and self-help or nonfiction (Mom); I’ve only come to appreciate nonfiction in the latter third of my life and formerly was only interested in fiction. I had always thought that I would marry a reader, and that was not the case – until recently. I would have never guessed that the Harry Potter series, aside from making readers of thousands of school-age children, would also be what made one of my husband. He finally picked one up to try because he loves the movies and got tired of hearing me talk about the books and points omitted from the films’ version of events with other friends, while he stood there feeling lost and left out. He’s since read – and enjoyed! – other fictional works, and asks me for recommendations out of the dozens of books on my shelves. It’s a nice change. The other readers I know are from my online book group, which I joined almost ten years ago. They are such nice people, and while I can’t always keep up with their reading schedule, it’s always a good time talking to them. They are the ones with whom I have the longest, most fulfilling and interesting book discussions; they are also responsible for helping me to expand my reading habits by suggesting and selecting as group reads books that I would have probably bypassed in the bookstore – I’ve had the opportunity to read a lot of great books this way. Like the one I’m currently reading: Ordinary Wolves.