Saturday, August 6, 2011

Sound the alarm bells: 1 in 4 adults didn't read a book last year

Got the message from Bookshelves of Doom with a link to the WaPo article. The takeaway?
One in four adults read no books at all in the past year, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll released Tuesday.
I know that this is framed in an alarming way, but...I'm not entirely sure why this is a big deal. And I love to read!  I'm trying to read 150 books this year!  Why am I not lamenting the sad state of reading affairs in America? This part from the article:
"I just get sleepy when I read," said Richard Bustos of Dallas, a habit with which millions of Americans can doubtless identify. Bustos, a 34-year-old project manager for a telecommunications company, said he had not read any books in the last year and would rather spend time in his backyard pool.
Honestly, dude, I can relate. In college, I used to start studying in the afternoon for the express purpose of being asleep for an afternoon nap in the next 30 minutes. Lets face it! Americans have other things going on. And that guy loves to be in the pool! Shouldn't I be out getting more exercise, rather reading 150 books? In another article, I could say something like:
"I just don't like to go outside very much. I'd rather stay inside, read, watch television... Besides, its been so hot lately," she said, adding that occasionally she does ten minute yoga routines in the morning.
We're all fuckups in some way according to the media. 

Besides, television has gotten super intense and complicated. Certain programs (The Wire, Mad Men) are like intellectual pursuits. I'm willing to give non-readers a break. Your life is complicated, I'm sure that you're doing what you can, and I'm not here to give you a guilt trip.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Midwestern Girls, Approximately

I don't know, maybe its a Midwestern thing, but where I'm from, you're not supposed to brag about yourself. That's what my mom says. She says you should wait for people to recognize your good qualities. And then you should say, like, 'Oh no, I'm not really that great at whatever-it-is. I'm just okay.' And then they'll say, "No, really. You're great.' And you say, 'I'm really not, but thanks anyway for saying so.' And they'll say, 'Yes you are. You so are!' And you say, 'Gee, do you really think so?' And then they'll say, 'Totally!' And then people think you're good at whatever it is you're good at, but they don't think you're braggy about it 'cause that makes you seem like a real tool. Plus, it's unladylike. 
From Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Honestly, this sort of thing is hard to fight against. Sometimes it is too braggy. But sometimes you are too modest. Where is the line? This happens early in the book, so obviously the character that says this (Mary Lou) grows a set of Lady Balls (Thatchers, if you will) by the end of the book. But there's a difference between bragging and sticking up for yourself.

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