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Reading

Only 17% of parents say reading is a top priority this summer
June 20, 2014 | 10:25 am

man reading on grassFrom GalleyCat comes this depressing survey, from a group called Reading is Fundamental, and Macy's. They surveyed 1,000 parents and found that only 17% of them feel that reading is a top priority this summer. I am not sure what to make of it. The sample size is pretty small for this one, and the survey does also point out that parents who do make reading a priority are more likely to have kids who read. But it stuck in my mind because I had read only yesterday a thought-provoking question on Ask Metafilter that struck close to home on this...

I tried to read through Tim Parks’s article on attention deficit and literature, but …
June 16, 2014 | 10:25 am

yawning-puppy-275... my attention wandered when I realized how sententious, hidebound, and just plain unconvincing his argument was. So I went on Facebook instead. And one I'd heard before. Parks's "Reading: The Struggle" in his regular New York Review of Books blog complains of "the state of constant distraction we live in and how that affects the very special energies required for tackling a substantial work of fiction" in tones very familiar from here, here, here, here, and here. (Wow, some of them are over five years old - amazing people had the attention spans to keep coming back to this tired...

Should I read these books?
June 9, 2014 | 12:25 pm

readAs part of my spend-less-money year, I have been trying to go through my backlog of unread books and prune a little more vigorously. I want to be able to buy new books guilt-free---when I want to read them. And that means I have to have time to read them by not having 500 unread buys sitting in my library, taunting me. So I have been clearing out the Kindle freebies, considering carefully which free classics I truly will read, deleting off the library wishlist and archiving some past buys I know I'll never get to (the defunct Fictionwise was...

C.S. Lewis: Reading children’s literature is anything but ‘childish’
June 7, 2014 | 3:24 pm

So, someone else has come out with the whole stupid “you shouldn’t read young adult books because they’re beneath you” argument. Earlier this year, we saw that kind of thing with Lynn Shepherd blowing off J.K. Rowling’s children’s books and declaring Rowling should stop writing to leave some success for everyone else. The latest idiocy to come down the pike is Ruth Graham in Slate, telling people “Read whatever you want. But you should feel embarrassed when what you’re reading was written for children.” She claims children’s fiction is too simplistic and maudlin, and only stuff written for adults...

New theme song for Reading Rainbow offers an even better reason to read books
June 5, 2014 | 8:27 pm

LeVar Burton’s Reading Rainbow Kickstarter is running up a fairly godlike funding tally. In case you’re wondering what his secret is, he reveals it in this “new version” of the Reading Rainbow theme via humor site Funny or Die. Reading Rainbow's New Theme Song with LeVar Burton from LeVar Burton ...

LeVar Burton discusses Reading Rainbow TV show cancelation, plans for Kickstarter
June 5, 2014 | 12:49 pm

The Reading Rainbow Kickstarter has reached about $3.5 million, and the velocity of increase has slowed considerably. I still think it has the potential to make 10 if it does well over the course of the month, especially when it gets the end-of-Kickstarter boost. But even if it makes its $5 million stretch goal, that will be something. LeVar Burton has been interviewed by Think Progress, and he took the opportunity to dispel a few rumors about why the show was canceled, and discuss how the show originally got started and how the money from the Kickstarter will be...

2014 Reading Challenge: May Update
June 3, 2014 | 3:15 pm

May was a good reading month for me---I enjoyed setting up my new Kindle, and I read some really great stuff, too. Alas, most of the stuff was not stuff I was supposed to be reading for my goals and I have fallen behind a little! So, how did I do?...

LeVar Burton launches Reading Rainbow Kickstarter, fully funds in less than twelve hours
May 28, 2014 | 8:55 pm

LeVar_RR_bio.largeTake a look, it’s in a book. The Verge ran a story today that LeVar Burton has launched a $1 million Kickstarter with the goal of bringing Reading Rainbow to the web, to reach kids across the globe. It’s already available for Android and iPad, but not all kids or schools have access to those devices, or the $60 per year the subscription costs. In addition to putting it on the web, Burton wants to create a version for teachers to use in the classroom, and to set up a not-for-profit organization to make it available for free to low-income schools. The...

The most well read cities in America
May 21, 2014 | 4:25 pm

most well read citiesSome fun data points came out of Amazon's release this week of their fourth annual 'Most Well Read Cities in America' list. I had this emailed to me, but Business Week has the full text here. The rankings compiled sales data from various categories for all cities with more than 100,000 residents. So, are there any surprises? Well, here are the top 5: 1. Alexandria, Va. 2. Miami, Fla. 3. Knoxville, Tenn. 4. Seattle, Wash. 5. Orlando, Fla. Seattle made the biggest jump, coming up from #13 last year. Coincidentally, it is the home of Amazon's corporate headquarters. And San Diego, the highest-ranking city with 1,000,000 residents, doesn't...

Are best-sellers bad for you?
May 17, 2014 | 10:52 am

best-sellerFrom Indie Reader came the link to this story from Shane Parrish, who decides to make reading a priority, so that he can acquire knowledge. 161 books later, he concludes that if you want to get smarter, you should avoid best-sellers. From the article: "If you read the best-sellers, by definition, you're reading what everyone else reads. And if you read what everyone else reads, odds are you're going to start to think like everyone else. If you think like everyone else, you're not going to think differently and creatively, stifling your ability to stand out and excel." I get that argument,...

Minorities and Mainstream Reading
May 9, 2014 | 2:40 pm

minoritiesA great little write-up from today's Morning Links gave me some food for thought during my commute today. Swapna Krishna writes about the difficulties of finding great 'minority' fiction to read, and she makes some points that I, in my quest to read more Jewish books this year, had come to myself. For instance, she talks about the 'heaviness' of some cultural fiction. It can be good sometimes. It can make for an interesting and nuanced read. But what if you just want to read a romance or a mystery---with characters who 'happen to be be' Black or Asian or Indian?...

Just Like Reading the Paper?
May 9, 2014 | 10:25 am

readingThe bus I took to work this morning was all decked out with National Post advertising, for their new ePaper program. The ad, which you can see via this info link, features a pair of hands holding a tablet-esque device which is bent, like a newspaper, and looks just like the print National Post. The slogan? 'It's just like reading the paper.' The details were predictable enough. It's a straight print replica which lets you do such revolutionary things as search, bookmark, share via social media or view extra photo galleries. You get it free if you are a paper subscriber,...