English / A World Without Books

A World Without Books

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Autor:  anton  07 July 2011
Tags:  Without
Words: 855   |   Pages: 4
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Imagine a world without books. Imagine a world without schools, libraries, or bookstores. There would be no Huckleberry Finn, Robinson Crusoe, Tom Sawyer, or Alice in Wonderland. There would be no Dr. Seuss, Herman Melville, Edgar Allen Poe, or Stephen King. We would not have our weekly book clubs. Children would have no bedtime stories. What kind of world would we live in without books? Would we even learn how to read? How would we express ourselves or communicate with each other? It is hard to imagine.

However, for some people in our society today this is a harsh reality. Recent studies show that there is a startling decline in how much and how well people are reading (Neary). “Americans are reading fewer books today than in the past,” states Eric Weiner of NPR News. “A poll released…by the Associated Press and Ipsos, a market-research firm, found that the typical American read only four books last year, and one in four adults read no books at all. Book sales have been flat in recent years and are expected to stay that way for the foreseeable future.” More and more people are tuned in to the television or the internet and not opening a book. Poor people, homeless people, small libraries, and even many schools are finding it more difficult to gain access to books due to lack of money, time, and interest.

One has to wonder what this new generation of non-readers is going to lend to the future of our society. Without reading, what will they do? Who will they be? How will the find an escape from the hard realities of life? How will they continue to learn and be enlightened? People who do not read are more likely to do unfavorably on tests and are usually unemployed. It not only impacts academic performance, but also impacts economic performance (Neary). These people will eventually have an enormous impact on the future of our society.

We can all do our part to encourage those who have not experienced the joy of picking up a book. Book clubs are good way for people to gather and discuss books they have just read.

Donna Kelly, an outreach nurse in Cleveland, has started her own book club at 2100 Lakeside Men’s Shelter. Kelly began the club last fall after taking notice to how many homeless men brought books with them to the health clinic she helped run at the shelter.

She found that when she talked to them about the books they were reading, they seemed to trust her more. They talked more freely to her about drugs, abuse, and other things they may not have told her otherwise. And the fervor is catching. A new club has also started at Joseph’s Home, a shelter for homeless men who have recently been discharged from hospitals or have serious health problems. And Kelly is working on starting another one for homeless women and children. (Marino 1-2).

Another excellent way to encourage people to read is through donations. Many programs, such as Donna Kelly’s, would not be possible without those who donate their old books to worthy causes. In 2006, in Hong Kong, a charity sale of donated books attracted 30,000 people and sold 225,000 books. The sale is aimed “at promoting reading, book recycling, and charity” (Books).

A couple of years ago, British author Ian McEwan and his son made their way through the lunch-time crowds at a London park. They began handing out free books and within a few minutes, they had given out 30 novels (Weiner 1). Although it was for his own purely unscientific experiment, imagine what one could accomplish by taking this same initiative. How many lives could one person change by simply handing out their old books?

Be the one to help make a change. Donate your old, used books to shelters, schools, and local libraries. How rewarding it would be to give someone the pleasure of reading who may have never had anything pleasurable in their life. Henry Miller, a notable American writer and painter, once said:

“A book is not only a friend, it makes friends for you. When you have possessed a book with mind and spirit, you are enriched. But when you pass it on you are enriched threefold” (Daily Good).

Works Cited

"225,000 Books Sold At Hong Kong's Charity Book Sale." Xinhua News Agency. 26 Feb. 2006. NA. General OneFile. Gale. LIRN. 15 Mar. 2008. <http://find.


“DailyGood: Positive News And Inspiration From Around The World.”charityfocus.org. 15 Mar. 2008. InfoTrac. 15 Mar. 2008. <http://www.dailygood.org>.

Marino, Jacqueline. "Homeless Men Find Shelter In Book Club." ABC News. InfoTrac. 15 Mar. 2008. < http://abcnews.go.com>.

Neary, Lynn. “Reading Study Shows Remarkable Decline In U.S.” All Things Considered. NPR News. 19 Nov. 2007. InfoTrac. 15 Mar. 2008. <http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=16433529>.

Weiner, Eric. “Why Women Read More Than Men.” NPR News. 5 Sept. 2007. InfoTrac. 15 Mar. 2008. <http://www.npr.org>.

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