Lack of Reading Leads to Lee Open-mindedness

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting article on reading habits. See their discussion of an article taken from the New Yorker magazine. Wall Street Journal, "Informed Reader", December 19, 2007; Page B11. 'Age of Innocence' Eclipsed By Age of Streaming Media: THE NEW YORKER -- DEC. 24 & 31
"The reading of literature has declined so sharply that some sociologists believe it will one day become an arcane hobby. But the really bad news, says writer Caleb Crain, is that as literary reading erodes, so does open-mindedness."


What will life be like if people stop reading?

Twilight of the Books Caleb Crain over at The New Yorker:

The reader is also alone, but the N.E.A. reports that readers are more likely than non-readers to play sports, exercise, visit art museums, attend theatre, paint, go to music events, take photographs, and volunteer. Proficient readers are also more likely to vote. Perhaps readers venture so readily outside because what they experience in solitude gives them confidence. Perhaps reading is a prototype of independence. No matter how much one worships an author, Proust wrote, “all he can do is give us desires.” Reading somehow gives us the boldness to act on them. Such a habit might be quite dangerous for a democracy to lose.

Information Literacy partners

This was posted last week by the Shifted Librarian, but thought I'd pass it on.

"Karen Markey is a faculty member in the School of Information at the University of Michigan. Earlier this year, she received a small grant from the Delmas Foundation to build a prototype online board game that teaches students information-literacy skills. Her game prototype is now fully operational and is being tested and evaluated by a class of 75 undergraduates at the University of Michigan."

Karen is now looking for some help to further test her idea. So take a look at the posting for more information.

Doris Lessing's Nobel Lecture: On not winning the Nobel Prize

An English professor sent me this link to Doris Lessing's Nobel Prize Lecture, "On not winning the Nobel Prize" - . It's really an extraordinary speech, one that deserves to be heard by librarians everywhere.

Spell wears off as children ditch books

The end of the Harry Potter saga has seen children ditching books in favour of their PCs, according to a new survey.

JK Rowling's series on the pint-sized wizard took the plaudits for the surge in children's improved literacy, but as his magic starts to wear off, children are becoming less enthusiastic about reading. Results show the next generation of young readers are not as enthralled in the books as children who were brought up on Harry Potter and as a result Scottish children have recently lost confidence in their reading ability.

Eurodollywood: Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Expands to United Kingdom

Entertainment superstar Dolly Parton was at London’s Savoy Hotel today and travels to the Magna Science and Adventure Park in Rotherham tomorrow to announce the launch of her Imagination Library program in the United Kingdom.

Where the Wild Things Came From By the end of the 19th century, the art in kids' books had become madcap and zany and irreverent. From the postwar period, one can trace the imagery and style that are familiar from the classics of one's own childhood. Jump on over to to see a slide show on the history of children's book illustration in the United States, based on Timothy G. Young's new book, Drawn To Enchant.

FreeRice - Boost Your Vocabulary and Feed Hungry People

The website FreeRice ( has two purposes. First, they want to help people improve their English vocabulary. The site gives you a word and four possible synonyms. Get it right, and you advance to a higher level with tougher words.

At the same time, advertisers who appear at the bottom of the screen donate 10 grains of rice per correct word to the World Food Programme, which in turn sends it to countries in need around the world.

As of now, FreeRice has paid for just under 4 billion grains of rice, hovering at around 200 million grains per day. Not bad considering it launched on October 7 with 830 grains!

A Good Mystery: Why We Read

The New York Times asks the question why we read. PERHAPS the most fantastical story of the year was not “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” but “The Uncommon Reader,” a novella by Alan Bennett that imagines the queen of England suddenly becoming a voracious reader late in life.

At a time when books appear to be waging a Sisyphean battle against the forces of MySpace, YouTube and “American Idol,” the notion that someone could move so quickly from literary indifference to devouring passion seems, sadly, far-fetched.

Review readers comments or add your own.


Harry Potter the most re-read book in the UK

Nearly 80 percent of Britons have re-read a book, with the Harry Potter series the most likely to be picked up again, a survey revealed on Friday. Some of the books that are re-read for pleasure are classics such as Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" and Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre".


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