The Big Read Blog (Archive)

WHY READ?

Washington, DC

Stephen King signs his new book before the Charlotte County Library System Big Read kick-off. Photo by Lisa Mondelli, Graphics and Marketing Coordinator, Charlotte County

Through April 30, Florida's  Charlotte County Library System---in partnership with Charlotte County Public Schools, Arts and Humanities Council of Charlotte County, Charlotte Players, Cultural Center of Charlotte County, Florida Gulf Coast University, and Peace River Center for Writers at Edison State College---is reading, discussing, and celebrating the stories and poems of Edgar Allan Poe. The Big Read kick-off featured master novelist Stephen King, one of Poe's most notable literary descendants.  During the opening event, King read his retelling of  Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart" and talked all things literary with Christy Arnold of the Charlotte Sun. Here's his answer to the question, "Why read?"

The first thing that occurs to me when asked that question is because it?s fun.  It turns something to do into fun.  It?s cheaper than going to the movies or hiring a babysitter and better than TV because there are no commercials or cable bills.  It?s better than a computer because it?s not as addictive in the same way.  Just think of all the things we have today that we entertain ourselves with that either run on batteries or electricity. Just ask yourself what happens if you drop it in the toilet? .That doesn?t happen with books. You might have to dry the book out, but it will still work and that?s not true with your iPod or X-box or your ?crack?berry or the thing that you just can?t stand to be without. 

Reading leads to writing and writing leads to thinking and they all go back and forth and go round and round.  The more you do one, the more you do the other. So American life is like a house, and if you can read you can have a pre-lease on that house.  If you can read and write, you can own it.  I am living proof of that because I?m a guy who grew up in a poor family---single mother, no money and no indoor plumbing---and I have done pretty well for myself. 

The other thing is there is talent involved in writing, but reading is a skill.  It?s a learned skill and if I can learn to play ?Johnny be Good? on the guitar, you can learn to read and enjoy it.  Not only does it pass the time and it?s fun but it also increases your options in life.  I would say to find stuff you like and read it and pass this message on to your kids.

Find out what else is taking place in Charlotte County and at other Big Reads across the country on The Big Read website.

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