Thursday, July 29th, 2004
It’s been a busy week at BookGirl’s home, what with family in town, so luckily Star Girl comes to the rescue. Star Girl, is one of my bookish friends.
Star Girl Reports -
BookGirl and I met at a book club in the early 1990s. Although I now live about 600 miles from her, we are still maintaining our friendship via emails, long phone chats and snail mail.
I enjoy reading mostly international (non-US) fiction and essays. But, when I watch TV or movies, I tend toward science fiction and fantasy. My favorites are Star Trek (all), Star Wars (all), StarGate SG1 (can’t wait for the Atlantis spin-off to start). Now you know where I got my web name.
On a previous entry, BookGirl wrote about the lack of reading that is taking place in the United States, and she isn’t the only talking about it. Andrei Codrescu, author and NPR commentator, is lamenting this fact in a local newspaper column.
It must be discouraging to be a published author and know that every year, the readership is decreasing (to death and lack of reading) and that some younger people are not even opening books that one spends so much time writing and preparing for publication.
One book Crodescu mentions in the column is Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. Where hunting through personal libraries and burning books is the norm.
I suppose that Bradbury and other futuristic authors thought that the governments would control our lives to this extent and that we would lose freedoms, such as reading. However, I don’t think that any of the authors counted on inventions, such as portable computer games, DVD/VCR movies, the Internet, advanced mobile telephone functions, mpg players, and other marvels of the 21st Century to keep us distracted.
I also believe that they did not expect cultural influences. The best example is the anxiety that many families in the United States have about preparing their children for “life” by overbooking their days with a myriad of activities, most of them seeming to be about athletics.
It seems that children barely have time to sleep, do homework and eat as they are carted off from one activity to the next. These children don’t have any unscheduled time, therefore they really don’t have time to read and use their imaginations.
If you are a reader, don’t despair. Continue learning and reading. Studies are showing that people with active minds have fewer mental and health problems as they age. Most importantly, encourage your loved ones and families to read. Start small; a comic book or a magazine dealing with the person’s hobby or interest is a good start.
Little by Little, they will join our Side…