Sunday, February 17, 2008

Reading Challenge


I didn’t set out to be cutting-edge, but it’s nice to know The Reader’s Digest and I agree on something basic.

People aren’t reading anymore. Not nearly enough according to RD’s information. According to a short snippet in The Reader’s Digest, February 2008, A National Endowment for the Arts study found that Americans are reading less and less for pleasure.

Why?

Are we working more? More than our forefathers (and especially foremothers) who toiled from sunup to sundown in order to work farms, dairies, ranches?

Less educated? Not likely. During the 1910s only 15% of those between the ages of 14 and 17 even attended high school. Today, every state has a mandatory stipulation that students under the age of 17 must attend school. According to The National Center for Higher Education Management Systems – who publicizes graduation rates for the past 14 or so years – US high schools graduate somewhere between 67% to 71% (National average) of their students.

So what are we doing if not reading?

My guess is that we fill our time with other things. Stuff and such, as my kids always called it. During a recent writer’s meeting, I overheard two writers discussing how little they’d actually read since the beginning of the year. I happen to belong to the romance genre, so generally we love our happy endings and are more than willing to delve into another great novel. However as writers, we must schedule time for writing, self-promotion, blogging, publicity, research, book-keeping, and then there’s the whole family scene. So, overall, even though we are writers who want to read, who need to read in order to keep sharpening our writing skills . . . we aren’t.

Here’s my challenge (I didn’t really intend it to be a New Year’s Resolution – normally I’m a dismal failure at those – but everything over the past several weeks has catapulted me in this direction.)

Read one new book per week. Okay, they don’t need to be an epic read, novellas are fine.

Why?

In 52 weeks (sorry, no vacation from this challenge since the best time to read is on vacation) you will have exposed yourself to 52 new brilliant or not-so-brilliant works of literature. You will have expanded your mind – taken 52 new adventures/journeys/or quests. You’ll have read multiple new authors, enjoyed happy endings and sad ones, loved characters and hated them, agreed with plot lines and chances are you’ll have totally wanted to rewrite a book or two from the mix.
To kick off the challenge, here’s my group since the first of the year. Keep up with me and feel free to share yours. Psst! My complete list will be on the bottom of the left-hand column. Check back and see what I've recently read.


I’d never want to live in a world where I’ve learned everything, read it all, or cease to experience the world of literature.
I challenge you to pick up a book, then another, then another. Simply read!

4 comments:

Jen FitzGerald said...

Do audio books count?

Jen FitzGerald

Sandra Ferguson said...

Absolutely, those audio books count. Reading is the absorption of new material, so you betcha!

Thanks for dropping by, Jen.

Jen FitzGerald said...

All right, good. Then between the audio books I've listened to and the paper books I have actually read, I think I'm on track for the year so far.

I've listened to:

Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict
Natural Born Charmer
Secrets of a Proper Lady

I'm in the middle of listening to The House by Danielle Steele.

I'm caught up on my One-Year Bible readings. I'm currently reading "Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World", and I know I've read a couple of others, although the titles escape me at the moment!

Good challenge and one I'm pretty sure I can meet!

Jen

nelsonwriting said...

Hi Sandra and Jen,

I love this challenge. Unfortunately, my challenge is often to read less and write more. LOL.

Last week I finished Over the Edge by S. Brockmann. This week I tried to make myself not read until I finished my deadlines, and still ended up reading 3 short stories, a novella, and 5 Goldenheart entries.

Next on my list is Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward. I bought it as a bribe to finish my revisions.

Gina Lee Nelson

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