Monday, January 12, 2009

Where's the Doom and Gloom?

For anyone who's paid attention to the news the past few months, you'd swear that everything's going to hell in a handbasket. It's good to read something to the contrary once in a while--like I did this morning. According to the National Endowment for the Arts, for the first time since 1982, the number of Americans who read has increased. Especially dramatic was the increase in the 18-to-24-year-olds category. You can read the entire article here.

Some people believe that the increase in that particular category is due to the popularity of books such as Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series. I know of many people who think trees should not have been killed in order to print Meyer's books. As a whole, the series wound up leaving a bad taste in my mouth, except for one thing: these books have gotten people to read. That's the bottom line. They're a stepping stone. Remember that age-old question: "What happens if you give a mouse a cookie?" In this case, instead of a glass of milk, these thousands of new readers are going to want another book and another and another. I'm willing to bet that they'll move on from Twilight. Maybe even work their way up to Shakespeare.

All anyone needs is a stepping stone. Perhaps as book bloggers, we're well-fixed to provide a few!


  1. I totally agree - any book that gets young people to read can't be all bad. By the way, I haven't read the Twilight books and don't plan to.

  2. I love stories about people beginning to read. Whether the defining factor is a Twilight series, Oprah or another thing, I think it is great. And also, it doesn't matter WHAT they read as long as they read.

    Both my parents are avid readers and I grew up in a house with many books. However, I didn't share the same taste as my parents and while I could whine about wanting this or that pair of jeans etc for as long as I wanted, if I asked to get a book, no matter how "secondary" my parents felt that particular author/genre was, I got the book. They didn't care at all what I (and my two siblings) read as long as we read!

    (NB. None of us ever asked for pornography or weird stuff, it was more along the lines of cheesy, teenybobber romances, cheap western stories and stuff like that, which my parents probably felt was trash, LOL)

  3. I agree - getting children and teens to read is the main thing, what they're reading isn't all that important. I like your image of a stepping stone. I think once you have learned to exercise your imagination in tune with words on a page, the world really opens up for you.

  4. Kathy-- I don't really think you're missing much by passing on Meyer. I don't regret having read them, but if I had it to do all over again, I'd give them a miss myself.

    Lou--I was so very lucky because I had a librarian for a mother. I always had something to read!

    Belle--I couldn't agree with you more!


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