Archive | June, 2012

To Finish or Not to Finish, That is the Question:

27 Jun

What to do when you don’t like a book you are reading?  I’m pretty sure we have all been there: maybe a book for a school assignment, or one that has been chosen for a book club, or even one you thought (or you were told) you would really like?! Personally, I always try to finish a book…but, there are a few I have put down, never to be read again.

I asked some friends what they do in the same situation.  Here are some of the highlights:

“If I can’t get into a book by the end of the second chapter or so, I just abandon ship.  There are so many great books out there that I would rather find one that suits my interests.”

“If I’m bored, I remember how I hated ‘Grapes of Wrath’ when I first started reading it and how my boyfriend encouraged me to keep going. It ended up being my favorite novel of all time, so I try to remember that.”

“If I do not like a book, I am stubborn enough to finish it, because I do not want to be bested by a novel I don’t like.”

“I ALWAYS finish it. Even if I hate it.  I can’t adequately hate something if I haven’t given it a fair chance.

“Sometimes when I really dislike a novel I will put it down and read other things, and then come back to that book.  I’ll still want to make it through to the end. ”

Please feel free to leave comments about what YOU do when you a reading a book you don’t like or even the title of a book that you didn’t finish …

Just What the Doctor Ordered…

21 Jun

Guest Blog:  Today’s post is written by my awesome dad, James Vick MD.  

Even adults sometimes need to be encouraged to read. I am a family doctor and I have always had a love of reading. Reading allows one to expand their intellectual experiences and helps to relate to a wider variety of people. I love fiction, short stories, natural history and history.

I teach medical students in my office, and I always ask them what they are reading outside of medicine. Unfortunately, often they are not reading anything for pleasure or other interests. Recently, however, I had a student who was a great reader and we still trade book ideas although he left my office months ago!  I often suggest some books which may have some bearing on medicine: Cutting for Stone or The Citadel, for instance.

I think it is important to read outside of one’s career needs and interest. One can read to understand other perspectives on life, and the beauty and/or struggles of life. I have some patients with whom I am always trading reading ideas. We are able to relate in a greater way than just doctor-patient. I recently saw a pre-teen girl who was reading The Hunger Games (maybe a little too young), and we were able to talk about books she enjoyed and had recently read. I suggested some books to her which she had never considered: A Wrinkle in Time, The Hobbit (upcoming movie), the Narnia books, and The Yearling.

I am thankful that the love of reading was instilled in me at an early age; it has helped to open the world to me. We need to do everything we can to pass on that lifelong passion. Reading is a great privilege: use it!

E-Books vs. Print Books

15 Jun

When I gaze into the not-so-distant future I wonder, ‘will iPads and e-readers make print books extinct, will the classrooms and bedrooms of tomorrow be empty of books?’

The world of books and reading has been changed by the digital reader.  The book world turned digital at a faster rate than publishers expected (NYTimes November, 11).  However, sales of e-books aimed at children under 8 have barely budged.

There are both practical and sentimental reasons for this.  Many parents want the intimacy of cuddling with a child while reading a book.   The experience of turning the pages, the physical touch and handling of a book is incredibly significant in the development of early readers.  Additionally, print books are a bit more durable (and more affordable) than an e-reader.   The New York Times article “To Serve the Young, E-book Fans Prefer Print,” that instigated my post asked Junko Yokota, professor and director of the Center for Teaching Through Children’s Books if ‘there is anything lost by taking a picture book and converting it to an e-book?’  Junko thinks yes, because the shape and size of a book are part of the experience, such as wider pages to convey landscapes or taller format for stories about skyscrapers.  I agree with Junko, and I also agree with the parents who are interviewed in the article, who believe it’s a sentimental thing: “I feel that learning with books is as important a rite of passage as learning to eat with utensils and being potty-trained,” says Ari Wallach.  And, Alexandra Tyler notes for her kids it is all print: “You get the smell of paper, the touch.”

The other argument for print books is that often there are so many other options of things to do on an e-reader or iPad that once a child has it, they play a game or watch a video instead of reading so that E-readers can be great for everything but reading books.  “Google Books is ranked number 63 on the Android charts behind Netflix, Pokémon and a video game called Drunken Pee. Google Books is ranked number 53, behind Sudoku and a Tim Horton’s app:  The fact is the new e-readers aren’t electronic readers at all, they’re tablets” (Toronto Life, March 2012).

I’m not sure how the digital reading world will grow without readers; if you didn’t read before buying an iPad, will you start now?  And, I believe that young readers need print books to learn to read and learn to love to read.