Sunday, December 11, 2011

please read.

Not this post.

I mean, yeah, do that. But you've already clicked on it, so in that big game of I GOTS MORE CLICKS!, I guess I would be winning a little more, if I ever checked on that sort of thing.

Honestly, I don't care what you read.

I just wish people would read more.

Our entire family went to our favorite movie theater this morning, the one where you push a button, and people bring you food. FOOD WHILE WATCHING MOVIES. IT IS BRILLIANCE.

I ran out to the restroom, and when I came back, I was utterly arrested by one of the many previews playing in the lobby. It was the longest, prettiest trailer for The Hunger Games, and I've only ever seen it at about 4 inches wide, and my computer went possessed in the middle and started chanting backwards.

So on a big flatscreen, it was riveting.

"Can I help you?" a teen worker asked.

"Nope. Just mesmerized by the preview."

She glanced at it. She looked perplexed.

"What's it for?" she asked, and I ignored her grammar to stare at her.

"The Hunger Games."

Blank look.

"Based on the bestselling books by Suzanne Collins. They're phenomenal."

Shrug. "I don't read."

"But it stars Jennifer Lawrence, some cute teen boys, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Lenny freaking Kravitz, and the ever delightful Wes Bentley."

Blank look. "Is it a movie?"

And I swear to gosh, it took everything I had not to jump up and down and scream at her WHY DO YOU EVEN WORK AT A MOVIE THEATER? IS THERE EVEN ANYONE IN THERE? ARE YOU RUN BY MICE WITH LEVERS?

I mean, yeah, not all movies or all books apply to everyone. But how could you not know about The Hunger Games at this point? The book is an international bestseller that's crossed genre lines past teen girls to teen guys and adults of both genders. The movie has been splashed all over MTV, the Superbowl, Yahoo news, everywhere. You can't get on a subway or a bus or airplane without seeing someone reading it.

And, well... it's been playing right in front of you at your place of work ALL. DAMN. DAY.

So I guess this is my plea.

Read something.

I don't care what. I don't care if it's old or new. I don't care if it's on an e-reader, your smartphone, from the library, from the used bookstore, or fresh off the shelf at Barnes and Noble. I don't care if it's popular, little-known, or has the picture of a shirtless guy on the cover, because that's nothing to be ashamed of. Just read something that makes you feel more alive, that transports you to another world, that makes you remember that there's more to life than Angry Birds and the mall and watching football on TV.

It's almost impossible to read something and remain the same person. It's impossible to read and not think. Even if you hate the book or the character, you're thinking about it. And there's always another book out there, waiting for you.

You don't want to be that dead-eyed girl, sitting two feet from THE AWESOME and so dull that you're not even vaguely curious why there's a spaceship flying over a girl with a bow and arrow who's suddenly on fire.

Like The Hunger Games? Hate it? Think it's silly to read books written for teens? It doesn't matter.

Just read something.

But... I recommend The Hunger Games.



Tanya said...

To be fair, I don't think you would be the same after meeting a person operated by mice with levers. That's pretty cool.

I buy books and then I don't get to them so I have a makeshift queue of unfinished reading in a book bag. Makes me feel dirty.

Taylor said...

I kinda get like that when I meet someone who doesn't know who HG Wells or Jules Verne are. I kinda want to go get my worn copy of "The Time Machine" or "20,000 Leagues Beneath the Sea," and beat them senseless with it.

spiffikins said...

When I was interviewing potential housemates about 8 years ago, I remembere vividly this one girl who came over.

As we walked into the livingroom, her eyes *LIT* up - and her mouth dropped open as she caught sight of the 3 6foot tall bookcases that lined one full wall - and were *crammed* full of books.

And then she walked closer, and her whole body just slumped, her eyes grew dull and sad.

Concerned, I asked, "what's wrong?"

"Oh, I thought those were DVD's..."

I said, "Oh, no, they're all my books".

"Yeah, I don't read", she replied.

le sigh.

jarvenpa said...

As a bookseller of course I am all in favor of more reading, of reading anything. But more and more I am meeting people who truly are unable to read. I don't mean "don't have time, must watch TV". I mean "I think I know most of the alphabet". Functional illiteracy is a bigger deal in this country than most people realize.
Fortunately I'm in a place where I can help the big 6ft guy who whispers that he is doing okay sounding out some words now. I can get early readers to him. But..out the world there are a lot more, often too ashamed to ask for help.
Plus of course the people run by mice with levers. Those have great fashion sense though, Dee, you should check them out a bit more.

Anonymous said...

I read more than you (as I'm a retired English teacher, it shouldn't be surprising) and I've never heard of the Hunger Games. It doesn't sound like the sort of thing I'd enjoy.

Would I enjoy it?

Speaking of books, though, you should really read... Oh, nevermind.

delilah, the unruly helpmeet said...

jarven, it would definitely affect me more if it was functional illiteracy, but this theater is in a wealthy suburb where that issue is very rare. That would be more heartbreaking and less, "I judge you for not reading."

Anon, you aren't living in the US right now, so it would be easy to miss. If you were still teaching HS English, I'm betting you would know. It's a YA about a girl who lives in a dystopian world where the government forces 2 kids from every region to come down to a Thunderdome and kill each other. Riveting, but, yes, popular. No sparklepires.


delilah, the unruly helpmeet said...

spiffikins, I once interviewed for a job where the final interview question was, "What's the last book you read?" I lit up and launched into a list of great books. Since the equally qualified candidate before me had said, "Um, I don't read," it ended up being a big reason that I was hired. The boss and I got along very well, even if I could never share his love of Michener.

ChaosMandy said...

I love reading, though I haven't gotten to The Hunger Games yet. I'm hoping that I can get it read before the movie comes out.

The big feature that sold me on our house was the built in bookshelves in our bedroom. Though I really need more bookshelf space.

jarvenpa said...

One thing about the Hunger Games is that I got told the story of the first book and perhaps the second in one afternoon by a very excited young reader who had just finished them. Her first chapter books. She was amazed and ready to start writing her own..

charissimo said...

I lurve this post. I luff it.