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Bookworms Unite!

By Richie Ann Ashcraft
I had a different post in mind but this article that appeared on yesterday's editorial page by Kathleen Parker inspired me to take this post in a different direction. Parker says that bookworms are a dying breed as are newspaper readers. The Atlanta Journal Constitution recently eliminated their book editor position from the newsroom. Parker says eliminating such jobs contributes to the dumbing down of American society. She notes that "fewer than half of Americans read literature" although more and more books are being published each year. The whole article is just sad. I've loved books ever since my grandpa and I dug out an old Dick and Jane book that belong to one of my uncles. My grandparents came to the United States in the 50s as Ukrainian refugees of WWII. They took a English as a Second Language class and learned to read at the same time I was learning to read in first grade. So we sat after school and picked out the words of simple books together. Most times my grandpa would cheat and ask me to read to him. I'd look over and see him dozing in his easy chair, a habit that remained throughout his life. I love to meet people who read. Often times when I'm at a loss for my next book I just ask around to see what others are burying their noses in. We had a book club for awhile here at the Sentinel but ultimately it failed because the groups interests were too diverse. "Blindness" by Jose Saramago was the best book the group ever read. A close second was a comparison we did between "Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger and "The Bell Jar" by Sylvia Plath. It sparked a great conversation about teenage angst and depression. I'd love to hear what others are reading. Recently Robin and I finished "The Kitchen God's Wife," by Amy Tan. I'd never read anything by Tan until Robin loaned it to me and I'm so glad she did. Tan has a great voice and is an excellent storyteller. The plot tells the story of a WWII refugee telling her daughter about her life during the war, something I can relate to based on my family's history. I'm currently reading "Exile and the Kingdom" by Albert Camus with my friend Velvet. It's great to have a friend that likes to eat lunch and discuss philosophy. Previously we read "My Sister's Keeper" by Jodi Picoult. You can read my review here. I'm always in the mood for new books and I couldn't agree more with Kathleen Parker that not having book reviews in the paper is a great loss to our culture. Let me know what you've read by leaving a comment or feel free to email me anytime with suggestions.