Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Readers Seeking Trashy Biblical Novels

Posted by Greg Hambrick on Wed, Aug 22, 2007 at 12:48 PM

We found out earlier this week that teens aren't reading the newspaper. Well, if so, they missed this bit of news in the morning papers:

One in four adults say they read no books at all in the past year, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll released Tuesday. Of those who did read, women and seniors were most avid, and religious works and popular fiction were the top choices.

But us Southerners can be proud that we read more than other people, though it's usually religious books and romance novels. Think of the books that would fly off the shelves if Moses was only blond and barrel-chested!

"I just get sleepy when I read," said Richard Bustos of Dallas, Texas, a habit with which millions of Americans can doubtless identify. Bustos, a 34-year-old project manager for a telecommunications company, said he had not read any books in the last year and would rather spend time in his backyard pool.

Here's two pieces of advice for Richard.

1. Don't read at night. Books collected dust on my nightstand for months and months before I realized that reading at night was a horrible idea. I usually find some time in the morning before I go to work to read. Or take some time in the evening or on the weekend. And the pool is a great place to read (as long as you don't fall asleep).

2. Read what you want to! You might be falling asleep because you're reading something that just doesn't interest you. There are books about amputees, sex fiends, vampires, and vampire amputee sex fiends. Whatever works for you.

The problem for a lot of tepid readers is that they usually take someone else's advice on a book. It's an understandable impulse. Walking in to a Barnes and Noble can be overwhelming. But reading is a solo sport for a reason. My partner and I love almost all the same movies, music, and television. But I can not tell you the last book that we shared.

And some of my favorite books were ones that I picked up on a lark. I may have heard the authors name somewhere or — gasp — liked the jacket cover. Of course, I would apply this test at the library and not the bookstore. Don't want to waste cash on a jacket blurb.

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Greg Hambrick
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