I have a thing for books and most anything related to places that hold books…book stores, libraries, shelves, etc. My heart holds a special place for the library of my youth (i.e. the library before computers and Internet). Watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s reminded me of this affection as I watched Holly and Fred search for his book in the card catalog (starting at about 1:40). There was something so grown up about pulling out those little drawers, flipping cards, and searching the shelves for the neatly typed titles.
My love affair with books and all things bookish makes it difficult for me to comprehend a world that seems disinterested in books. From Adrian Hon via Rachel Clarke I learned how grim the book reading landscape is:
40% of people in the US (and 34% in the UK) do not read books any more. They may surf the web, or the read the occasional newspaper, but they do not read more than one book (fiction or non-fiction) in a year.
The closer you look at the statistics, the more depressing it gets. In the US, only 47% of adults read a work of literature – and I don’t mean Shakespeare, I mean any novel, short story, play or poem – in 2006.
Adrian does an excellent job of explaining the larger issues related to the reading decline. I encourage you to read his full post. For my part, I’ve decided to be more public about my book reading. My interest is less in doing a book review per se, but more about demonstrating how much of my thinking is impacted by what I read.
To start, I have 1,638 books in my personal collection. Of that number, I feel comfortable saying I’ve read about 75-80%. On average, I go through 4-5 books per week, less if my reading is for research/study versus pleasure. Throughout the coming year, I’ll share as appropriate (some of my reading selections are more mind candy than mind challenging) the books and the ideas they contain that make me think. Yes, there are a great many blogs and online writers who fire the imagination, but I never would have started blogging if I hadn’t been reading great books that got me thinking in the first place.
My goal isn’t to rank the value of any creative source but rather to point out the necessity of pulling from all possible sources. Given that my posts tend to be lengthier, I suspect many of my readers will appreciate my New Year’s wish that you’ll enjoy book-filled weeks and months to come.
Image courtesy of Paxsimius.