is like a body without a soul…So says Marcus Tullius Cicero, a Roman philosopher from around 50 BC. I could not agree with him more. My husband and I have very different backgrounds. He is from the mean streets of Little Italy in NYC. He lived in a 600 square foot tenement with his 3 brothers and two parents. I grew up in a small town of around 850 in a big house. Our grade sizes were ,on average, about 30 kids. While my husband had stick ball and subways to ride as well a large group of boys to hang out with, I had only 5 or so of my class mates that actually lived in “town”. The rest lived on working farms. So, for me, summer meant no school but it also meant boredom. There were only so many hidey holes in the hay stacks in which to hide. Luckily for me, my maternal grandmother lived right next to us. She had only gone through the 3rd grade but had taught herself to read and write. She had a very small library mostly with Reader’s Digest condensed books but she had a complete set of Zane Grey novels. She also had a first edition Gone With the Wind and, for the time period, some bodice ripper novels by a guy named Frank Yerby. My grandmother’s house was a big, old colonial with a wrap around veranda. Since there was nothing better to do, I took up reading Grandma’s books. I’d go up to her second floor, which actually was stuck in the 1940’s, opened a window to let the breeze in and let the world of books sweep me away from the doldrums of a hot, south Texas summer to the hot kisses of Scarlet and Rhett to the windswept plains of Montana. Since then, I’ve always had a book in my hand.
My husband never read anything beyond school assignments or work related books. He didn’t take up reading until he retired. And now he always has a book he’s reading. I do have some friends that don’t read at all. I’ll recommend something but I know full well they will never pick it up. I did some research on the reasons why people don’t read. They range from being dyslexic to not enough time in the day to finding that, hey, it’s just not their thing. Reality is enough for them. I was talking to a guy the other day that only reads non-fiction. I asked him why. He asked, why do I need to read fiction when the real world is filled with murder, mayhem, intrigue, love, exploration, dynasties and tribulations? Hmmmm…I guess he’s right but real life can’t help me time travel or take me to Mars or encounter any number of monsters as in Stephen King novels.
How committed are you to reading? And are you still of the ilk to want to have the feel of a book in your hands? Well, believe it or not in the first half of 2014 approximately 67% of all books sold were traditional hardback or paperback. Only 23% were ebook sales. Of Amazon’s revenue in 2014 only 7% was due to ebook sales. Publishers are still cranking out the hard copies. In 2013, they printed 304, 912 books by different authors. Well, for me, I’m a Kindle girl only because carrying books on long trips is just too darned heavy. I just finished Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. All 7650 pages of it. Can you imagine taking those as hard copies on a trip. Can you say bad back?