I thought this article was a great commentary on the sad state of reading in America. Book store owner Tom Wayne couldn't give his books away so he protested this lack of interest by firing up his giant barbecue grill.
As an avid reader I don't understand how people do not read for pleasure. In fact, I get testy when I can't find the time to read. It's relaxing, informing and more stimulating than either Dancing With The Stars or Deal Or No Deal. All sarcasm aside, reading broadens your vocabulary, exposes you to new ideas and describes events you would otherwise have no knowledge of. Unfortunately, Mr. Wayne's hypothesis does seem to have merit. I have friends who read and can have wonderful discussions with and then there are those who only know book titles from the film adaptations they see.
His collection ranges from best sellers, such as Tom Clancy's "The Hunt for Red October" and Tom Wolfe's "Bonfire of the Vanities," to obscure titles, like a bound report from the Fourth Pan-American Conference held in Buenos Aires in 1910. But when he wanted to thin out the collection, he found he couldn't even give away books to libraries or thrift shops; they said they were full.
So on Sunday, Wayne began burning his books in protest of what he sees as society's diminishing support for the printed word.
A couple years ago we had a garage sale and put out many of the books we had read over the years and wouldn't be re-reading. An older couple came through and the husband scanned the titles while the wife made small talk with us. She asked who the reader was in our family and my wife and I answered, "both of us". We asked if she read and she waved her hands negatively and said "no". "He's the reader," she said, pointing at her husband. "I never read. Never have". The look on her face and the tone of her words told us her reaction would have been the same if we had asked her if she did lap dances at the local VFW hall.
Anyway, it's sad to see such an important activity as reading fall by the wayside. If you haven't read in a while, make the effort. If you have little kids in the house, read to them. If you are concerned about cost, reach way, way back into those dusty old elementary school memories and remember the library. It's a wonderful place. They'll loan you books for free as long as you bring them back.