Sunday, January 23, 2011

a world without books

When I was in high school, I had more books to read than time to read them. Calculus. Biology. History. They all whispered, “If you ignore us, you’ll be sorry.” And I knew they weren’t lying. After studying for hours, who had time to muddle through Moby-Dick or try to find the Deep Hidden Meaning in Macbeth?
Still, I’d do anything to get out of homework. Even read. So I’d sit on my bed and pull out The Witch of Blackbird Pond. It was one of my favorites. Since there wasn’t any DHM to worry about, I could take the story at face value and jump into the treacherous life of poor Kit Tyler, who was obviously not a witch, although the whole town believed she was.
Reading made my life seem uncomplicated. I got to experience prejudice, death, true love, and even magic in the safety of my own room. Then I could go back to my own life and feel like I knew a little bit more about how the world around me worked.
Unfortunately, not as many people are taking advantage of this simple pleasure anymore, according to a survey by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).
The NEA claims that people who read novels, plays or poetry are two-and-a-half times more likely than non-readers to do volunteer work, and four times as likely to visit museums. The study predicts that, if things keep going the way they appear to be headed, the number of readers in America will virtually disappear in fifty-years. That doesn’t leave many people left to experience the finer things in life.
Does fiction really matter that much? Some times I stop and ask myself that question, even as I’m writing. I spend so much time in a made-up world in my own head. But then I remind myself of stories I read when I was a teenager, and how they changed me for the better. Made me question things, or wonder things, or learn something new.
That’s what I want to do for others.
That’s why I write.


  1. That's why I love and write YA fiction. I remember how certain books I read as a teenager affected me. I want to do the same with my writing. Great post!

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  3. Oops. I removed my post! I said, thanks Heather! Good YA and MG still affect me, and I'm glad there are so many out there to choose from these days :)