Burn Baby Burn…

Those who read my blog know I’ve been on a rant this week. I came across a news story last weekend about a book store that was burning books. BURNING BOOKS. I couldn’t imagine any greater horror. I am physically incapable of throwing away a book. It doesn’t matter how bad it is, I still can’t bring myself to throw it out. I’ll do my best to foist the book off to someone else. I couldn’t imagine what would bring a bookstore to burn a perfectly good book.

The bookstore was burning books to make a point. Their motto was “There is a greater crime than burning books- not reading them.” Some stats to curdle the stomach acid of anyone who reads and writes:

58% of the US adult population never reads another book after high school.
42% of college graduates never read another book.
80% of US families did not buy or read a book last year.
70% of US adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years.

I’ve been challenging people to come up with ideas to promote reading. One of the more creative ideas was a reality show with Victoria Secret models. The first one to read a whole book would win a million dollars. Meanwhile viewers would be treated to slow camera pans of scantily clad women reading. Mixing alcohol with books was also a popular option. Your goal for the week is to buy at least one book this summer. Now I can’t carry all of you. I’ve already bought four this week so the rest of you are falling behind. One of the commenters on my blog put up her own post challenging people not only to buy and read one book, but also to email the writer. This will work best if they are still alive, but otherwise I think this is a brilliant idea.

What is next on your TBR list?

9 Replies to “Burn Baby Burn…”

  1. I’ve done my best — I went on a book buying spree this past week and got nine new books! I haven’t done that in a while.

    I posted that article about the book burning on my blog as well, and am equally as horrified. He says he couldn’t even find a place to give them away, that not even the thrift stores would take them. That’s incredible.

    Next on my TBR list? “Rises the Night” by Colleen Gleason. I can’t wait.

  2. The Haunting of Hill House
    White Noise (NO. I still haven’t read that one. I know. I suck.)
    A Thousand Splendid Suns

    …and I should also buy a bookcase.

  3. I bought two books this week. One for me and one as a present.

    I’m reading Roxanne St. Claire’s TAKE ME TONIGHT and next on my TBR list is Michael Chabon’s THE YIDDISH POLICEMEN’S UNION.

  4. I need to contextualize the Victoria’s Secret idea . . . this was a response to the suggestion that a sweaty scantily clad George Clooney behind the till might entice people to read. I disagree. I think the likelihood of someone basing their decision to read on a celebrity endorsement (I remember Kermit the Frog, for example, extolling the virtues of reading when I was a kid) is slim to none.

    Really . . . if you REALLY want to get people to read you need to fund education (and particularly the arts and sciences). You need to stimulate people’s minds so that they THINK about life and ideas rather than being passive consumers obsessed with weight loss and celebrity. That means (he said with no apologies whatsoever) buying children musical instruments, paint brushes, cameras, and bunsen burners. It means paying teachers livable salaries and valuing their contributions to society. It basically means universal education. From that will flow an interest in books (which essentially contain other people’s ideas).

    Also . . . belittling people who use smilies in their professional writing can help.

    And no, I am not a teacher.

  5. Last week I bought three books, two were gifts. This week I pre-ordered three more — do those count?

    As for what’s next on my TBR list, it’s none other than Party Girl!

  6. I love the reality TV show idea – better yet, let’s run the next presidential campaign similar to a bookathon – the candidate to read the most (we’d have to come up with a “Books All Potential Presidents before leading innocent people into war and/or cutting social programs” reading list, among others) wins – instead of debates, they’d have to answer questions about the books and go to book clubs instead of town meetings (to make sure they really read the books and didn’t have their aides read for them!).

  7. I bought Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Evidence of Things Unseen by Marianne Wiggins at the suggestion of our local B&N manager today. I also rec’d my order from B&N.com which included a couple of copies of Anna David’s Party Girl as well as Bicoastal Babe by Cynthia Langston, another fabulous L.A. author.

    I watched the book burning in horror, too, Eileen. The statistics are so very sad. I am so grateful to our readers!!

  8. I LOVE to read. The problem with books is that they are SO expensive! There needs to be an online Library that works like netflix-except free. That would fix our “I don’t have time to drive” or “Gas is too high” problem. I love places like Half Price Books. I often go in there and just grab anything less than $1. I’ve found some pretty great things in dusty old corners.

    Oh, and as for the poster who said they puschased “A Thousand Splendid Suns” I want to read that so badly!

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