I'm an avid reader of Entertainment Weekly. Maybe that's my dirty, little secret, I don't know. But this week's issue (Dec. 12) has an article by Stephen King about the best books of 2008. It was the best article in the whole mag.
"Okay, gang, pay attention: In 2007, according to the National Associate of Theatre Owners, the average price of a movie ticket was $6.88. Let's say it goes up to $7.00 in 2008. And say that you and your sweetie buy $10 of snacks. Even leaving out the babysitter and the cost of gas, that's $24 for two hours' entertainment. For that same $24--less, with a discount--you can buy a new book and be entertained for days. Plus, your sweetie can read it when you're done (or first, if he or she's the grabber type). My point? Books are still the best bang for your entertainment buck, and 2008 was a great year for reading."
Then he gives his top ten picks, none of which I've read. Now, it's obvious (I hope) that Mr. King and I are not even remotely interested in the same genres, so it's not surprising that I haven't read a single one of his picks. But I'm going to. His advice? "Get them all. Immediately."
Now, I realize that I sort of have a fetish for books. I've had some people ask me, "What do you do when you finish reading your books?" Well, here are some ideas for those of you who may not "need" books just to keep breathing in and out.
1. Read them again. I have some that I read over and over.
2. Donate them to your child's teacher. Be smart about this though. Your second grade classroom isn't going to house Dean Koontz. But if you read middle grade and young adult, your 6th grade teachers are always looking for books. Mr. Johnson teaches sixth grade and every single book we buy goes into his classroom. Schools always need books.
3. Donate to your local library. They do house Dean Koontz and many, many others.
4. Keep them for your kids. In Freakonomics by Stephen J. Dubner and Steven D. Levitt, they cite that the reading ability of children has nothing to do with how much you read to your child. No. It has to do with how highly you value reading. Do you value it enough to do it? Children who read well have parents who think reading is so valuable they do it in their spare time. Just seeing their parents read creates a child who loves to read. It has nothing to do with how much you read TO them, but everything to do with how much you read yourself.
So buy yourself a book this holiday season. Log what books you bought here. The goal is 1 million.