Friday, November 23, 2007

Matter of Life or Death

Since I was a little girl I have been reading a book. Not the same book, obviously. Taking this many decades to read a single book would show my lack of reading skills or motivation or both. I need to be reading a book at all times, though - my life depends on it.

Yes, you read that right and no, I am not crazy. Well, maybe I do have a few screws loose, as they say. You see, I have a theory. When the time comes for me to leave this world, I believe God will look down on me with pity and say “She’s in the middle of a book, I will let her finish before I take her Home.” That makes complete sense, does it not?

My nightstand is straining under the pile of books stacked there. If I should happen to turn the last page while reading in bed, it’s imperative that I start a new book immediately. Even if that means struggling to keep my eyes open long enough to read a single page. As long as I am reading a book I will live forever.

According to To Read or Not to Read: A Question of National Consequence, a new analysis of reading patterns in the U.S released by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) as a follow up to NEA's 2004 Reading at Risk, Americans are reading less. The study also revealed that the decline in reading has civic, social, and economic implications. Nearly two-thirds of employers ranked reading comprehension "very important" for high school graduates. Yet 38 percent consider most high school graduates deficient in this basic skill.

Americans are busy people. And yet - on average, Americans ages 15 to 24 spend almost two hours a day watching TV and only seven minutes of their daily leisure time on reading. This leads me to believe that no one has the desire to avoid the end of this life as much as I do. Which reminds me; I finished The Will of the Empress, which I will be discussing next Friday, over my morning coffee. I need to read the first chapter of Astrid & Veronika before I get mauled by a pack of frantic shoppers.

How about you? Do you read on a daily basis and if so, when? An hour every night before bed or ten minutes in the morning before rushing off to work? Do you read over your lunch hour or while waiting to pick the kids up from school?