Saturday, August 25, 2012

#OBSummer Guest Post by Lynn Murphy

A World Without Books
by Lynn Murphy

I am a book junkie. I admit it. Books are the one thing that I simply could not live without. I love books. I love opening up a new book, the smell of the ink, the feel of the pages, the anticipation of starting a new adventure crafted in words. Even though I sell my books in e book format, I still prefer a real book. There is almost nothing I enjoy more than an hour browsing n a bookstore, searching for just the right read for the particular day I am searching for a book.

My world has always been one that is filled with books. Every birthday and Christmas brought new additions to the shelves and nearly every week as a child and teenager, I bought a book with my allowance. Literature classes were never a chore for me, I thrived on them. Summer days were spent reading stacks of library finds in the hammock in the backyard. I am one of those people who feels a bit lost in the absence of something to read.

As a teacher, I am always surprised and saddened to hear children proudly declare that they don’t read. I once assigned an art project where my students were to design a book cover for a classic novel which showed understanding of the book’s content. One seventh grader raised his hand and wondered if perhaps they could ‘fudge’ the project, because how would I know? I responded that I was familiar with all of the twenty five books I had randomly assigned. He said, in shock, “You’ve read twenty-five books?” And he was not being sarcastic, that number seemed extremely large to a child who had read only the books required for his language arts class.

A world without books is more plausible than those of us who love them would like to believe. America has raised a generation of kids who have abandoned reading in favor of video games, Facebook, texting and twitter. They see reading as a chore, not a pleasure. As something theyhave to do for school, not as something they like or choose to do. Many of those kids will never pick up a book after graduation. The world of Fahrenheit 451 is a possibility if that trend continues. A world without books, where those who once communed with them try desperately to remember the words? Where books become nothing but ashes, charred fragments long since forgotten? We owe it to this generation and the next to change the national mindset toward books and reading. It should be our mission, those of us who love books, to share the wonderful places that books can take them. Because a world without books is not a world in which I want them-or myself- condemned to live.


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Genre - Contemporary Fiction / YA 
Rating - PG

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  1. It would be heartbreaking for me to never hold another book in my hand. To never lose myself in another world, and say goodbye to my world for just a little while. I love to read. It is my favorite thing in the world to do, besides spending time with my family and friends. I don't even want to think about losing that. I can't think about it. It males me too sad!

  2. I have a kid who was reading the 4th Harry Potter book at the start of first grade...and then spent the rest of the year reading Captain Underpants. It was tough to find him age-appropriate stuff at his reading level, and he pretty quickly decided that since most of what was offered was Hogwarts-retreads, he wasn't interested. If he comes across something that catches his fancy, he swallows it whole. There's just not a lot out there that he's interested in. He's in 7th grade now, plays more video games than I'd like, but is able to say stuff like, "you know, the book Jaws was really more about small-town politics than the shark." So there is hope, as long as there's good quality stuff out there for them to read.


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