When I was younger the most important part of the day was story time. My brother Eric and I would sit down around mom or lay in our beds and close our eyes while we were whisked away on adventures with the Swiss Family Robinson, or The Great Brain, even sneaking alongside Bilbo Baggins inside Smaug's lair. The next day we would recreate our own versions of whichever story mom was reading to us, either outside in the sandbox and around the yard, or in a little room above the garage accessible only via a small "secret" door in our shared room. Inside that room anything could happen; we could be on another planet, in a fathom deep cave infested with goblins, or piloting our X-wings above the planet Hoth. Inside that room anything was possible, anywhere existed, and everything that happened was just as real to us as our soft beds outside the door. One of the first things I can remember is story time, then came the adventures...
Surprisingly, it took us a lot of work to get my little sister and my little brother to enjoy story time and reading. Right now he is immersed in the story of Hiccup Horrendous Hadlock the Third as my mom reads "How to Train Your Dragon". I hope that after his memories of story time come adventures like Eric and I had. Stories like the ones below are examples of adventures that came for us, and with those adventures we created the worlds we grew up in and that made us who we are today. Books can do that, but I don't think people remember that anymore.
My reason for looking back at my first experience with books was born while reading some statistics that took me completely by surprise...
- 1/3 of High School graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives
- 42% of College graduate never read another book in their lifetime
- 80% if US families did not buy or read a book last year
- 70% of US adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years
This is shocking to me, because my life is so surrounded by books. I've loved to read since I was young, my favorite store is Barnes and Nobel, and there is nothing I'd rather do in my free time than curl up with a good book. At first I really didn't believe the statistics, but I found similar information in a few different sources. As I thought about it walking out of the library I realized I was in a place filled to the brim with books, but 90% of the patrons where on a laptop or other computer, and the other 10% where mostly reading textbooks Sadly, as I walked around the library there was only one book that stood out as being commonly read. Facebook. Computers in general outnumbered the books in peoples hands even in "The Reading Room" and the "Samplers Section". The only computer I could find that was not being used was out of order.
I do hate to be entirely pessimistic about our world, but at times it seems to me that books have had an invisible "out of service" or "obsolete" sign placed on their front covers. But perhaps this is just my opinion and without school forcing us to read perhaps not everybody is the same as I am, perhaps not everyone likes to disappear on adventures like I do.
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