Yes, Book Lovers Day is today, August 9th. We should celebrate this as a national holiday and give everyone a day off to catch up on their reading. Well, I think so, anyway.
In 2013, the Huffington Post reported that 32 million American adults - about 14 percent of the population - cannot read. About 21 percent of adults in the U.S. read below a fifth grade level, and 19 percent of high school graduates can't read. Books and adult literacy programs are so accessible in today's America, which is why these statistics make me so sad and angry. Reading is a skill that can be acquired and cultivated at any point during your lifetime. It is a pathway to personal development, employment, better wages, higher education, and more. How many would-be geniuses might be lost because they simply did not take advantage of the gift of literacy?
For me, Book Lovers Day is reminder that the ability to read is a privilege. Being able to read is like having an all access pass at a concert or a hotel upgrade; not using it for all its worth is a waste.
Someone who doesn't read isn't going to read this blog. But you, dear reader, may know someone who has given up on their own literacy and could use a helping hand or a swift kick in the ass (depending on your relationship) to get on track. In that case, here are some suggestions on things you could tell them:
- Don't read books that don't interest you. Use this rule: if it doesn't hook you in the first two or three chapters, move on. Don't feel as if you failed at something; it's like trying a sample at a grocery store and deciding it's just not for you. Pick up something else.
- A newspaper or magazine can be practice when you're trying to get started. Make a goal to read the entire article from beginning to end, even if your attention is diverted by shiny, smelly ads.
- Get a library card. It's free and gives you access to thousands of different reading resources and literacy programs.
- Ask your librarian for suggestions based on stuff you like. Trust me, if you have an interest in something, someone has published a book on it. For this reason, there are such things as NASCAR romance novels. Yes, I'm serious.
- Switch up your genre and try something new. I tend to like sociology and horror books (the truth, as they say, is stranger than fiction, but sometimes fiction is just as good) so I have to push myself to try something new.
- Don't give up easily. Reading is hard for many people. The more you do it, the easier it gets, and even then, it isn't always easy.
- When in doubt, ask a trusted friend for help.
Happy Book Lovers Day!