Saturday, January 24, 2009

Of Charlton Heston and Chicken Pox

Speaking of the power of reading fiction (see previous entry), Ann Patchett believes in it. This is hardly surprising since she's a novelist herself. (Her acclaimed works include Bel Canto, The Patron Saint of Liars, and Run, all available at Accent on Books.) She is also a member of the board of the Nashville Public Library and, according to a piece she recently wrote for the Wall Street Journal, she's seen first hand the increasing interest in reading in general and fiction in particular. "We are a hardy bunch, we readers," she says. "The rumor is we'll play around with a Kindle or an I-Book for awhile but eventually give up on the whole endeavor, the logic being who would want to read a book when there are so many enticing video games to play and Web sites to surf. But I'm more of the Charlton Heston school: you'll get my paperback of One Hundred Years of Solitude away from me when you pry it out of my cold, dead hands."

As for the generation now coming to adulthood, yes, they are the generation of the iPod and the smart phone, but they are also the generation of the midnight Harry Potter parties -- a hopeful sign since, Patchett says, "Like the chicken pox, getting infected by the desire to read is best when it hits us early."

Ann Patchett's article can be found here.

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