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Too tired? Too busy? Muster the energy and time. Read a book to your child.

Take a moment and read this story in The New York Times. In short, a doctor tells of a 74 year old patient who couldn’t get his medicines correct.

Mr. M was a typical new patient: 74, with diabetes, hypertension and elevated cholesterol. He had some prostate enlargement and back pain. His bag of pill bottles was depressingly bulky. I spilled the bottles out at our first visit, sorting them by disease. … Mr. M didn’t remember the names of all the medicines … Mr. M was clearly still confused about his medicines…

[Source, NYT, A Problem in Following Doctor’s Orders by DANIELLE OFRI, M.D.]

In the end, we learn that Mr. M is illiterate, unable to read either Spanish or English. The story would be similar to many other stories of illiteracy leaving us emphatic, but emotionally disconnected, had it not been for the last paragraph.

My kindergarten-age daughter is just beginning to read, and she is taken aback with delirious joy each time a few random letters suddenly form a word that matches real life. It’s a painstaking process for her, but as I watch her I think about how this skill has powerful ramifications for her health and longevity. It’s a gift, really, one that I’d long to transfer to Mr. M if I could.

[Source, NYT, A Problem in Following Doctor’s Orders by DANIELLE OFRI, M.D.]

I know that joy! My son has become quite the avid reader. He no longer wants to be the listener; he wants to be the one who reads aloud. And I too wish I could give that gift to Mr. M.

Remember, they are never too old to participate in reading with you; whether you are the listener or the reader, make time to sit with your child and a book.

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American Library Association List of Books People Tried to Ban in 2010

In our enlightened world, people are still trying to ban books. The American Library Association (ALA) has just released its list of the 10 books which Americans tried hardest to ban in 2010.

  1. "And Tango Makes Three" by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
    Reasons: Homosexuality, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group
  2. "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: Offensive language, Racism, Sex Education, Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group, Violence
  3. "Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley
    Reasons: Insensitivity, Offensive Language, Racism, Sexually Explicit
  4. "Crank" by Ellen Hopkins
    Reasons: Drugs, Offensive Language, Sexually Explicit
    Note: Crank is available for the Kindle
  5. "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins
    Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group, Violence
    Note: The Hunger Games is also available for the Kindle
  6. "Lush" by Natasha Friend
    Reasons: Drugs, Offensive Language, Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group
    Note: Lush (Kindle version)
  7. "What My Mother Doesn’t Know" by Sonya Sones
    Reasons: Sexism, Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group
    Note: What My Mother Doesn’t Know (Kindle version)
  8. "Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America" by Barbara Ehrenreich
    Reasons: Drugs, Inaccurate, Offensive Language, Political Viewpoint, Religious Viewpoint
    Note: Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America (Kindle Version)
  9. "Revolutionary Voices" edited by Amy Sonnie
    Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit
  10. "Twilight" by Stephenie Meyer
    Reasons: Religious Viewpoint, Violence
    Note: Twilight (Kindle version)

Do you agree or disagree? What books would you ban?

The State of America’s Libraries Report documents trends in library usage and details the impact of library budget cuts, technology use and the various other challenges facing U.S. libraries. The full report is available at [Source, American Library Association]

DayRiffer, Cowardly New World
Guardian, Brave New World among top 10 books Americans most want banned
American Library Assciation, "And Tango Makes Three" waddles its way back to the number one slot as America’s most frequently challenged book

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Kindle – Killing paper books forever

I’ve declared for some time now that we are in the midst of a revolution and no one realizes it. That revolution is the death of books. Much like CDs replaced LP records in the early 80s, we will look back at this time and say that in the 2010s electronic books replaced paper books. Paper books will become the thing of collectors. It will take 20 years to realize this as the Kindle and the Apple iPad work their way into schools. Once we get one generation of children through the school system primarily reading text books on e-readers instead of paper, traditional books will die.

I was going to buy a Kindle at the beginning of the week but Amazon was conveniently "temporarily out of stock." I did not realize this meant that Amazon was releasing a new Kindle at only $139! They also improved the contrast on their $189 model (the one interesting me but I was reluctant because I wanted the contrast of the $379 model). Amazon is taking pre-orders to ship on August 27th. I can’t wait!

Update: Did you know you can buy the Barnes & Noble NOOK ebook reader (WiFi + 3G) on Amazon? And the Sony Digital Reader? Note that each are a pound while the 6 inch Kindle is 8 ounces. And of course the Apple iPad Tablet (64GB, Wifi) which weighs in at a pound and a half.