Reading Day

As many of you have noticed (and indeed have commented upon), I have not been posting much these past few weeks. I blame NaBloWriMo (National Blog Writing Month – a month dedicated to blog writing, requiring participants to blog daily), in many ways. When NaBloWriMo started I was thrilled, too chicken shit to participate, but thrilled to be guaranteed a daily dose of some of my favorite blogs and for the first week or so I was not disappointed.

And then I noticed a pattern. Now, I’m not mentioning any blog in particular and I’m certainly not criticizing because, as I mentioned before, I did not even have the guts to participate in NaBloWriMo. However, I have noticed a marked decline in the quality of posts over the past month. It seems that Blog Writing Month has strained some of my favorite writers and has caused them to reach to the bottom of their creative barrels for post topics. Quantity not quality has been the trend of the past week.

It is partially for this reason that I have not been blogging myself this week. Of course, I also avoided blogging at all during the long weekend simply because CableDad was home from work and what kind of insane woman would prefer to spend time on the computer than with her cute and charming husband?

However, in a certain respect I’m glad that I lost interest in reading blogs this week because it has allowed me to indulge my favorite past time, reading. I have spent the past few days devouring (for the third time) the Philip Pullman trilogy in preparation for the release of the movie version of book I, The Golden Compass. (Yes, I’m that annoying person who hates to see a movie interpretation of a book without having read it recently first.)

Which brings me to the meat of this post: Reading.

Soccer Mom in Denial is a genius. I say that with unabashed honesty and affection. Not only is she a well read and well writing blogger, but she frequently tackles tough and important issues. This time her issue is literacy. While reading an article in the Boston Globe (oh how I miss Boston) she came across some truly disturbing statistics.

* 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 doesn’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

Having spent a great deal of my time as an Adjunct Professor and a Teaching Assistant at various universities I can unreservedly agree that the quality of student writing is down right disturbing. I would frequently wonder how many of my students had managed to graduate high school and get accepted to college with the verbal abilities they displayed.

Well, SMID has decided to take matters into her own hands and she has declared January 10th 2008 Reading Day. The goal for the day is to get people to turn off their blogs and read…. actual books.

As you may or may not have noticed I’ve been writing up little “reviews” of books I have been reading over the past few months. Part of my reasoning behind this was to become exposed to works of fiction I would not have encountered on my own. Another motivation was to find other people who had read the books and hopefully be able to discuss them intelligently. In honor of Reading Day I’ll step up my “review” writing and remind people that I have a page that lists all the books I have consumed in the name of Blogging. 😉

So, in honor of the coming Reading Day, I’m asking for suggestions. The next book on my TBR (to be read) pile is Ken Follett’s World Without End, but at the rate I read I will surely be done with that long before January. Before I put it down to reread Pullman, I had begun Eat, Pray, Love and since it is not in my nature to not finish what I’ve started, I will finish reading it, although to be honest it hasn’t caught me yet. I say again, however, that by January I will have finished reading it.

Which brings me to my point (about time, right?). If you’re reading this post I encourage you to participate in Reading Day. Encourage everyone you know to sit and read a book. Spread the word. Don’t let our society devolve into one which does not appreciate the written word. Pick up a book and read.

Which book should I dedicate to Reading Day?

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~ by CableGirl on Thursday, November 29, 2007.

9 Responses to “Reading Day”

  1. Hey lady. THANKS SO MUCH!!!! I was a bit worried I was one of those bloggers whose writing had gone down hill since I’m NaBloPoMo-ing.

    Thanks for such a terrific write-up about Day to Read. You’ve added some wonderful words to support the importance of reading. You were once a “professa”? You continue to amaze me.

    Oh, and email me for the button/link – amitchells AT yahoo DOT com. We’ll fix this in a jiffy.

  2. Hey it was wonderful talking to you about “Catcher in the Rye” we got to continue some other day, I am sorry I had to rush to some thing at work, could not continue our discussion

  3. Yay for reading! Yay for Paige!
    Am I one of those you don’t want to read anymore since the quality has descended? Hmmmm?
    I am so excited about this campaign and I wholeheartedly agree with you that SMID is a genius.
    I have some book suggestions for you I think. But I want to think on it, and gather some titles for you.
    I’ll be back to tell you more.
    ~jenn in holland

  4. Are these suggestions for you to read or of the two you’ve got in front of you. I’d love to see a review of the Follett! Lovely post!

  5. I agree. Honestly, most of my blogging has been crap this month and it really does bother me. I just wanted to be up for the challenge. But once is enough. One more day and I’ll have successfully completed NaBloPoMo, and next year there will be no repeat attempt. Reading Day sounds lovely (although I do tend to read a book a week) and I believe I’ll advertise it and do it as well.

  6. I read a similar article in the New York Times this past weekend. Extremely worrying to say the least. One of my friends here at UTEP teaching a course on adolescent literature to future high school English teachers. On the first day of class, she asked her students which book was their favourite. Over half of the class responded that they didn’t like reading!!! And these people are going to be English teachers!!! EEK!
    I would say that many of my students don’t enjoy reading at all either and it concerns me. Their ability to write is poor (although language issues contribute enormously to this problem as for most of them, their first language is Spanish) and although I provide all kinds of assignments to help them improve, many never bother utilizing my comments in their next task. It’s frustrating!

    I still read a lot, both for pleasure and work. At home, my reading tends to be mystery novels as I’d like to get away from thinking too much after a day of doing so. But I still read for at least 1/2 hour every day, beyond work stuff. I wish I could convince my students to do the same!

  7. Ahh so much to comment on. First of all, I’m with you on the NaBloPoMo… it’s part of the reason I didn’t participate. I think it’s near impossible for anyone to write their best work when they are having to do it 30 days in a row. While also working. And taking care of, you know, everything else in their life.

    As for the reading day, I’m so excited about this. I’m a reading whore. It’s always been one of my favourite past-times, and something that I think is missing in a lot of childrens lives. (I say this being a teacher, who sees how absolutely horrified kids look when I tell them they need to ‘pull out their textbooks’. I think people who bring attention to this issue deserve as much support as they can get. (I’m a third of the way through “Eat, PRay, Love” and I’m with you not being caught by it yet. I think, if I hadn’t of HEARD so much about it before hand I would be enjoying it more. I think I expected too much maybe.)

  8. My blog has been a bit pants his month too. It’s so nice to just blog instead o having 1700 words hanging over you that need writing each night. I’m really glad I did it though. And I’m gad to say I’m a reader. Even during NanoWriMo I found time. I need to read.

  9. i love books. and i love that my daughter loves books. i look forward to reading day. i love mccall smith’s books, but i’m only mentioning him because it put in perspective the fact that his books are not my favorite anymore, now that i’ve read Shadow of the Wind. yes, i loved it so much i pulled out a couple capitals for it. Carlos Ruiz Zaffon. see? more love-inspired capitalization. it is a book about books. yes, cool. more than that, it is a story about stories. oh it is so good. this dude gets taken to a graveyard of forgotten stories, and has to pick one to be the guardian of. he picks one that he loves and wants other books from that author, but there are no others, and he wants to know why, so he tracks down the story of that author. along the way, a bit of spanish history and culture. it is just an indescribably great book that i did not, can not give justice to in a comment form. ooooh. i love it. if you don’t read it for reading day, read it some day. it is just awesome.

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