Fear in Writing: Reading should not be a privilege

Today in Literary History

Today in Literary History...December 14, 1907: Rudyard Kipling receives the Nobel prize for literature, the first English-language writer to do so.ud

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Reading should not be a privilege

Blogger extroardinaire Margot Kinberg has given the 'Literacy Builder Blog Award' to me.  Wow!  Thank you, Margot!  As I wrote on her post, it's been a bit since an award has come my way.  And I was ok with that.  There were so  many, so close together for a while there, that it was beginning to feel forced.  This one, though, is a bit different.  This one really means something.
As writers, how can we not push for literacy?  According to UNESCO, 1 in 5 adults is not literate.  UNESCO and the international community have a goal of "increasing literacy rates by 50% by 2015" (Literacy Decade).  One push to meet this goal is LIFE.  "LIFE targets the 35 countries that have a literacy rate of less than 50 percent or a population of more than 10 million people who cannot read nor write. Eighty-five percent of the world’s non-literate population resides in these countries, and two-thirds are women and girls" (LIFE).

Want to help?  Here is a link to programs supported by the UN Literacy program.  There are probably many more in your area, and there are always companies giving to such organizations with some purchase or action.  Watch for them.  Ask your library what you can do.  Head to your community center and start a reading time.  Volunteer to read stories at a local school or even to neighborhood children.  Give money.  Give books.  Give.

Think about where you would be without books.

And now back to me.  :P

Here are the rules for this award:
1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you this award.
2. Display the award logo on your blog site.
3. Tell us five of your favorite words and why you like them, (add as many as you like).
4. Pass the award on to three bloggers you feel are excellent literacy builders, and link to their sites.
5. Contact the bloggers you’ve chosen and let them know about the award.

1. Tiffany's- my husband came up with this one for me!  (and he's so right...so why doesn't he shop there more often?)
2. Abstract expressionism- okay, so it's a phrase, but it evokes such imagery and feeling of art and passion and modernism
3.  Perspicacious- "having keen mental perception and understanding; discerning" (dictionary.com)
4.  Discombobulation- "to confuse or disconcert; upset; frustrate"
Achilles defeating Hector,

5.  Baroque- (Jan Morrison's list made me think of this one, but who doesn't love a word with 'q' in it?) "an artistic style prevalent from the late 16th century to the early 18th century in Europe" (wikipedia)

Who gets it?  Who has encouraged literacy?  Aww, guys...this is the tough part!  Can't I just give it back to Margot?

1.  The Rose City Reader.  If you haven't visited this blog, you should.  A wide array of book reviews, links to reading challenges, and intelligent takes on the world of the bibliophile.
2.  Steph the Bookworm.  While we don't always read the same genres or sub-genres, I highly respect Steph as a reviewer.  And I think she encourages reading through her fun and interesting blog!
3.  Mary of Giggles and Guns.  This woman burst onto the blogging scene and hasn't stopped commenting since.  She says in her profile she has wanted to write all her life and has notebooks and journals full of the stuff.  Now she is fully engrossed in the writing community we have here and what could be more inspirational than that?  (Oh, and she also has a great list of banned books on her blog; go read it!)
4.  Debbie Cowans.  She is a fantastic writer and a great blogger.  I sadly miss a lot of her posts because I'm not hopping around much this Fall, but I am resolutely stating I will get back to Debbie's blog!  See?  She inspired me.
5.  Mason Canyon of Thoughts in Progress.  Really, is there a blogger among us who does more to promote literature?  Mason covers everything from self-help to thrillers and the authors who write them, too.  She is fantastic, a guaranteed stop for any reader or writer.

That's it!  Go forth and read...to yourself and to others.


  1. Michele - You make such a powerful case for literacy, and thanks for the very useful ideas about how to help spread literacy. I guess that's the journalist in you :-).

    Congratulations on your award - I'm glad you like it and you do richly deserve it. You chose some excellent bloggers to pass the award to, as well.

    And I love the word discombobulate - I'm going to find reasons to use that word today, I think... ;-)

  2. First of all, congrats on the award and to the recipients.

    Now, I really have to say, it's so sad that the world is illiterate. I couldn't imagine those woman and girls making a better life for themselves if they can't read.

    Great post.


  3. What a great award! I love the concept.
    Congratulations to you and the recipients! Thanks for the links.
    Have a great weekend,
    Karen :)

  4. Congratulations on the award.
    And I used to volunteer at my local college in their adult literacy program.

  5. What a great case you make for literacy.

    India is one of those countries where over a third of the 200 MILLION children are not in school. I cringe even thinking about the magnitude of the problem, but there are so many people who have devoted their life to solving it, so there is perhaps hope in our childrens' lifetimes.

    Thank you for doing your bit.

  6. Margot- Don't get all discombobulated today! And thank you, again.

    Clarissa- It's really hard to imagine a world without words, isn't it? I'm in a coffee shop right now...What if I couldn't read the menu? Or the street signs to get here? A very quiet, confusing world it would be.

    Karen- I really like the idea behind this one as well, Karen. Thanks--and you have a great weekend, too. Read something!

    Alex- Good job, Alex! I didn't think about contacting colleges for ways to help. Sounds like I have some research to do...

    Rayna- I figured India was up there in this sad percentage. I know you work hard to make YOUR children educated and well-rounded. I only hope India finds a way to educate ALL its children someday.


  7. Congrats to you and your picks for the award!
    Equality and literacy do go hand in hand. I hope to see tremendous strides in both during my lifetime.

  8. Say-you did a bunch of work here pulling together the details! I am a recipient of this--was going to pass it on tomorrow, but have had something bigger come up, but this will definitely help me keep the facts in order! I feel like a poser now, but THANK YOU! (and congrats!)

  9. Congratulations on your award and to your recipients! And for putting a spotlight on literacy.

  10. Laura- Wouldn't that be wonderful? We can all do our part.

    Hart- No posers allowed. Just kidding--steal my facts or find your own, toss up the award with a few links or go all out and write a story about it...You can't go wrong! Thanks for coming by and for the compliment.

    Elizabeth- Thank you! I remember a post you wrote about literacy as well, so you certainly do your part. :)

  11. Thanks so much for the award, Michelle. The literary information and links you've provided are really valuable. It's such a important issue.

    I love the five words you've chosen. I also like the word 'discombobulation'. I need find more ways to fit it into casual conversation :-)

  12. Michele, first congratulations on your award. It is well deserved. You do a great job spreading the word about literacy. It is a sad state our world is in when so many people can't read. Reading opens up such possibilities.

    Thank you for thinking of me when passing the award on. I am honored and speechless. Thank you for your kind words. If I can encourage one person to read through my blog, it's been worth it. I thank you again. I will treasure it and will pass it along soon.

  13. Wow, thank you! That is a wonderful award and I feel honored that you think that of me! I do love to promote literacy, which is one of the main reasons I am studying to be a librarian.

    Congrats to you as well for getting the award.

    I really appreciate it! :D

  14. Michelle -- Thanks for thinking of me! And sorry it took me so long to respond. I've been out of town, so will have to so a post about this award now.

    I really think that all book bloggers help literacy just by making reading popular. Of course, that doesn't help systemic problems with particular cultures and governments, but it's a little start.

  15. I posted the award and linked back to you. The word game was particularly fun.