Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Creating a Nation of Well-Educated Nonreaders

MSNBC is carrying an article (that appears to have originally come from Washington Post.com) about schools destroying reading for students. It mentions AP courses in particular.

This has definitely been the experience in our family. All my hard work instilling love of reading was carefully destroyed on the high school level. But I'm not bitter about wasting years of my life. (Thanks to Blog of a BS for the link.)

This is Why so Many People Give up Reading News

So is the book biz looking up, as this article seems to suggest? Or do I want to believe this article, which is very clear that book business is down, way down? If you bother to read these things, notice that they give two different numbers for the total of books published last year.

My Parrrty

I became obsessed with Virginia Woolf and the movie version of Mrs. Dalloway last week partly because I was having a party of my own and totally got into Vanessa Redgrave talking about "my parrrty."

Now, my party was a "Summer Reading Bookswap." Otherwise, I wouldn't be boring you with it. Ten of us got together with copies of books we liked. They were all placed in brown paper bags so party goers didn't know what bag they were drawing out of the pool. The person who brought the book had to give it a little review, and the person who picked the book up had to read the first sentence.

You must understand, I don't have a great reputation as a hostess. I've given more than one party at which people were silently wondering if it would be rude to look at their watches--myself included. But this party went over so well that the guests asked to do it again this fall.

There were a great many so-called "Oprah Books" in the pool as well as one Jasper Fforde. I, myself, brought Girl With a Pearl Earring. The book I was particularly interested in getting (but passed on to allow another person to take it because I was the hostess, after all, and should have been looking out for my guests)was The Partly Cloudy Patriot by Sarah Vowell, an author I had heard of but knew nothing about. She writes essays! Essays that sound entertaining instead of boring!

And what did I draw for a book myself? Tara Road by Maeve Binchy. I just found this book reviewed at teenreads.com, which means I'm totally justified in writing about this whole event here.

I'm hoping Tara Road will be a Englishie woman's book, which I rather like. Though, of course, Binchy is Irish.

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