Monday, December 22, 2008

You Are What You Read

I've always said you are what you read and watch and listen to. At least my oldest friend Jimmy points out that I've always said that. I can't recall, but itmakes for a great segue to what has been on my mind.

I don't fancy myself a reading snob. At 46 I still read my smattering of baseball books in the course of the year. What does bug me is when adults read kid's books. I know that the Harry Potter phenomenon was a tidal wave that seemingly few could resist, but resist they must. It doesn't even have to do with whether Potter is good or not. When my peers would say with great pride that they are reading Potter, my gag reflex would kick in. Aren't there any adult books for you to read? How about Crime and Punishment or Huckleberry Finn? Reading anything to say you read scores no points with me.

Which leads to the second point. I can't tell you how many times I've heard a parent say they are glad their kid is reading, regardless of what it is. So, if your kid reads the worse dross available, that's great because "at least they're reading." I have never heard such low standards applied to any other category. Sure, my 12 year old may be eating nothing but Zagnut candy bars, "but at least he's eating." Or, my 10 year old daughter chugs Jack Daniels, "but at least she's not dehydrated." I'm not saying the average 14 year old should read John Toland's 1000+ page bio of Adolf Hitler like I did at that age, which is troubling on a completely different level. It merely seems that a higher standard should be placed on the content, not simply the act.

With those curmudgeonly thoughts, I bid you all Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year. See you in '09.

1 comment:

James said...

While Harry Potter is mind-numbing it is nowhere as bad as the Twilight books, a series sweeping through middle schools nationwide. It's familiar "girl falls for vampire" fare. I agree reading drek is not edifying, but it's hard to hold back the tide if the book is merely bad but not particularly offensive. Some stuff is so bad it's simply not allowed. For the rest, I insist on one real book for one junk book. Hopefully, with time, better taste will develop. Just now my 13 year old danced down the steps, waving a just finished "Diary of a Young Girl." So I have to go to the bookstore and buy the next Twilight book. Sigh.