Reading: The Road to Literacy

I just got back from a week at the beach.  We went to Sandbridge Beach, just south of Virginia Beach and it has been a respite for my family and our friends since our first visit there in 1974 - and this year, as in the past, it did not disappoint.

We had a wonderful week with our friends around food, sun, surf, and some cold beverages!  I had a chance to golf a couple 3 rounds, and caught up on some long overdue reading, finishing 3 excellent books.  There is nothing that baits the intellect like sitting by the sea with a good book.

This vacation got me thinking about the importance of reading.  It has been said that the literate person should be reading 25 to 50 books a year - and - that the majority of this reading should be outside of your field of specialty.  The diversity of reading is thought to push the intellect and to stimulate a broader perspective on life.

I try to read as much as I can, but I must admit, I am not averaging 25 books per year.  In fact, I saw a statistic that suggests that most Americans (and I suspect this might be true in other countries as well) don't read ANY books at all after they get out of school.  

Now I am sure that if this statistic is accurate it might be influenced by a number of factors.  Certainly we know that newspaper reading is down significantly, with many people choosing to get their news online, or via television.  Perhaps it may also be due to the declining discipline that seems to be present.  Reading a book does take discipline and time - time that many people say they do not have.

Whatever the reason, it is a sad state of affairs.  This decline in literacy has an impact on a society and a culture.  When people do not exercise their intellect, or chose lower discipline ways to think about things around us, I think we decline as a civilization.

So, how many books have you read this past year?