Defying Reading Statistics!

Yesterday’s Breakpoint Commentary entitled “Be a Bookworm, Not a Goldfish: The Lost Art of Reading a Book” cited new findings from a Pew Research Center study that over 25% of Americans, and a whopping 1 in 3 American men, did not read a book in the past year. The article’s title is a reference to the now-common shockstistic (a word I just made up) that the human attention span is now shorter than that of a goldfish. There’s debate about how true it is that we can no longer sustain thought for 8 seconds at a time, but the bigger point is that reading good books* can help us fight against the effects of our 21st century instant culture on our brains, and more importantly our minds and souls.

Author Eric Metaxas references professor Allan Bloom, author of The Closing of the American Mind:

The failure to read good books both enfeebles the vision and strengthens our most fatal tendency—the belief that the here and now is all there is.

In terms of actual reading of text, Americans have never read more than they do today, with innumerable text messages, emails, tweets, posts, news feeds, and other updates. As Christians, how much more important is it for us to learn how to engage our minds and enter into dialogue with an author about sustained arguments, ideas, or imagined worlds and characters so that we can become more reasonable, thoughtful, attentive students of the Word, and equipped to fight against all that is in the world that that tells us “that the here and now is all there is”!

While Metaxas brings up ideas and arguments that are familiar to us, especially if you’ve been in one of the “Effects of Living in the Internet Age” or “Technology and the Brain” type of workshops we have had, I appreciated reading this commentary and recommitting myself to defying the norm, and fighting for my mind and for my soul!

And as the Gracepoint “book lady,” I’m so happy that we at Gracepoint Berkeley church, as well as our other church plants, are doing what we can to defy these statistics together! It warms my heart when I receive emails from people who say they’ve read more in the last year than they did in all of undergrad. Sadly, just STARTING the Winter Reading Challenge will put you ahead of a good chunk of Americans. Not only are we refusing to be goldfish by being bookworms, I think many of us are on the way to being book dragons. 🙂

How many books did you read in 2016? Remember, more important than the number of books, is growing as a reader! Did you read more than you did in 2015?


 

* You can check out Breakpoint’s Recommended Reading List. It has lots of books that we carry at the store. 🙂

Blog Rec: Breakpoint’s Youth Reads

Many parents throughout our Gracepoint churches ask me about social issues in books, what age is appropriate for a specific title, and so forth. Part of my job is to stay up on these things and communicate with you regarding new books* and trends in youth literature and culture. But for some of you who are interested and have the time to read up on your own, I will recommend websites and blogs from time to time.

Today I want to let you all know about Youth Reads, a column housed on the Breakpoint website.

Youth_Reads_Menu_Top_2014

There you’ll find reviews, recommendations, and polls, and more.

You may have read or heard the recent Breakpoint Commentary by Eric Metaxas. In it he references a book that was reviewed on Youth Reads. Reviews do consider things like sexual ethics, mental health issues, religion and worldview issues, and diversity in YA literature from a Christian perspective.


*Yep, I am aware that the new Rick Riordan book comes out tomorrow. I will do my best to read it super fast so I can provide a review of what will hopefully be an original series that doesn’t merely graft his character archetypes into the next mythology (this time Norse).