Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Books..Books..Books

May 24, 2005 the O'Reilly radar at

http://radar.oreilly.com/archives/2005/05/number_of_books.html

reported that "The Salt Lake Tribune reports 'According to a report issued by the Book Industry Study Group, the number of books sold dropped by nearly 44 million from 2003 to 2004, while the number of books published per year approaches 175,000. 'Higher prices enabled net revenues to increase 2.8 percent, to $28.6 billion, but also drove many readers, especially students, to buy used books...' After 2005, markets are expected to be flat with the exception of religious books." '

That means approximately 3365 books a week are published. I believe those figures are just for the United States because I have figures from other sources that indicate that in 2003 Great Britain alone published in excess of 125,000 books a year.

Nonetheless, don't those numbers just boggle the mind?

Which ones do you manage to read and when do you make time to read? If you turn off the tv set in your house or if you are one of those multi taskers who can watch Monday night foot-base-basketball and read at the same time, you might even be able to read a book a week. However, that would only be 52 books a year.

How do you choose? Whose recommendation do you trust? And to whom do you talk about the reading you are doing?

Right now, I find myself in the enviable position of working on a Masters degree, which means that I have REASON and PERMISSION to read. And I promise you, I take advantage of this opportunity to read to my heart's content any and all the time I choose.

Why do I express my reading habits in quite that way? Because, dear friends, I am one of those folks who have been punished for reading too much. As a kid, my mom used to hide books from me. Oh, all right. The one she hid was Forever Amber by Margaret Mitchell. Mom was sure that it was a filthy romantic novel that a 7th grader should not be reading.

You may be sure I found the hiding place. It took me almost three weeks to figure out where she put Amber, but I promise you, find it I did..and then because it was summer time in Michigan, I rose at 4:30 each morning to steal under the covers to read until my mom rose at 6 a.m. I read the rest of Amber in the next week.

Probably that title changed my life. You know, that isn't entirely true. There have been myriad titles that have changed my life. Ursula leGuinn with her Wizard of Earth Sea series, Zane Gray with his romantic westerns, Tolkein and Frodo, Coleman Barks' Essential Rumi, even the Psalms changed my life..and I'm a confirmed atheist.

What I don't understand is how people manage not to read? You might want to list your favorites here and maybe others will find them to be their favorites, too.