Reading Books

There probably has never been a time when it has been so easy to read a book.

There are so many media by which a book may be “read,” and so many more contexts in which is possible to read, that I am truly amazed by how few people avail themselves of the opportunity.

According to wiki.answers.com:

  • less than 15% of Americans read books on any regular basis,
  • one third of American high school graduates never read another book in their lives,
  • 42% of college graduates never read another book after college,
  • 80% of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year,
  • 70% of U.S. adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years,
  • 57% of new books are not read to completion, and over half of those are not read past page 18.

Wow.

I was not a great reader when I was young.  I caught the reading bug in college.  I had a friend who was making his way through the Russian writers, and I decided to follow example.  I loved them.

Then somehow I stumbled across Mortimer Adler, and How to Read a Book.  Mortimer inspired me to read with great enthusiasm, and filled me with the belief that books would change my life.

While in many ways I have not been a good student of Mortimer, seldom has a day gone by when I have not read a book, especially once I found audio books.  Whether I’m driving my car, taking a walk, washing dishes, or folding laundry, you will also find me listening to a book.

And what has all this reading availed me?  Well I feel I can talk with almost anybody about almost anything.  I’m interested in most things, and most things have been written about.  They have helped me to understand other people, and to understand myself.  And they have enriched me with the experience of a thousand lives.

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