Joseph Brodsky—named United States Poet Laureate in 1991—wrote, “There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.” Brodsky was speaking from personal experience since he was raised in Russia during the Stalin era and was not allowed the freedom to distribute his writings.A post on Facebook called “Surprising Book Facts” gives the following statistics:
- 33% of high school graduates never read another book during their lives.
- 70% of US adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years.
- 80% of US families did not buy or read a book last year.
Contrast those stats with another article I saw on the Internet with the headline Sandvoort, Guyana. The closest library to this South American village was a long two mile walk away. Most school age children had never read a book and the teachers used the “chalk and talk” method for their teaching. In a village where most families can barely afford toothpaste, the desire for learning is so great that villagers are using sweat equity to build a local library. Everyone is pitching in by donating their spare time to construct the building, shelve donated books, and cook meals for the workers. The children in that village will now be exposed to a whole new world of opportunities through their reading.
I know the ways we receive information in the U.S. is changing due to the technology revolution, but we need to encourage our families to read. All authors, including me, want to know that people will read the words that we are inspired to write. An unknown author has said, “A good book on your shelf is a friend that turns its back on you and remains a friend.” So pick up a good book and read.ere’s a suggestion: Born Three Times-A New Life, A New Liver, A New Love.