Want a good scare?

Hallie O'Donovan hallieod at indigo.ie
Thu May 17 11:15:58 EDT 2001


>Check this out:
>
>http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A23370-2001May13.html
>
>It's talking about Americans, but I wonder how other countries stack up when
>it comes to reading.  Now go find someone to give a DWJ book to.  You could
>be saving a life.  :)


Time to play devil's advocate maybe - must be reading Connie Willis 
that's done it!  (Not about giving the DWJ book to someone obviously, 
that I agree with totally.)

Thanks for posting this, Melissa.  I found it really interesting. 
But did anyone else find the style of writing very off-putting? 
Possibly it was just proving the author's point, which I'm sure 
wasn't his intent!  (Linton.  Him?)

But, for all the scariness of the actual facts and figures, I'm not 
sure a lot of the points were that great.  Just to mention a couple: 
do people really think it's such a great idea to "deify" the 
lifestyles of writers such as Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott 
Fitzgerald?  Or how many people used to call someone "a veritable 
Simon Legree"?  I'm among the older list members, and I can *assure* 
you I never heard anyone say that in my life!  (Cracked me up, 
though, given the F&H significance).  And for all I passionately 
believe in the importance of reading for (and to/with) kids, I really 
find it hard to get that worried that more kids would know more about 
Sim City than Tale of Two Cities.

And I DO understand that he was just using catchy phrases to make a 
point, but that's part of what worried me.  Because some of the 
reasoning was so illogical that I just started doubting the real 
belief behind this article.  If Barnes & Nobles and Borders are 
"acrawl" with people, why should we conclude that this is unimportant 
compared with the bad news?

Ok, I spent last weekend working at our Church fete on the 
book-stall, so maybe my impressions are still askew (like my back, 
from toting books!) but I do get to wondering about articles like 
this.  And the ones which claim that HP books are saving a whole 
generation of non-readers.  I think I'd need a slightly more 
objective approach before I'd buy the arguments totally.

Hey, I may be being argumentative again and disagreeing with people, 
but at least it's not with you *this* time, Melissa!  Give thanks for 
small mercies.


Hallie.








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