Monday, December 15, 2008

Books and the Stinky Economy: Invest in yourself! Read!

Are you sitting down? Yes? Okay. Here it is: the economy is simply yarkful right now. Okay, that's not a word, granted, but I can't really think of a fitting adjective. Pardon the cliché, but words escape me.

It's hard to sell manuscripts right now. An editor of mine was recently let go. Bookstores are reporting a drop off in sales. And I keep hearing it's going to get worse—just in time for my two releases in the spring! Agh! Is it me, or is it even getting hard to keep spirits from spiraling?

Well, at least there are books. Books, I hear, do well in a down economy. Although this recent item from the LA Times informs me that it's actually TV use that tends to rocket when people can't afford to go out to Sizzler for dinner. In fact, it says that the average US household now watches 8 hours and 18 minutes of TV a day, the highest numbers they've gotten since they started tracking usage back in the 1950s. Holy slackers, Batman!

So...please read. Buy books; they're a cheap thrill. Go to the library; that's a free thrill. Buy books for Christmas gifts and stocking stuffers. Tell people about a great book you read recently. Read an old classic; I happen to be reading "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens right now and it's a hoot. I've ordered the 1951 move with Alastair Sim as Ebenezer Scrooge from Netflix (arriving tomorrow, so I gotta finish that slim tome, because I think this is that great old black and white movie I remember watching as a kid on rainy Saturday afternoons on our old black and white TV, the one with the broken knob, which required a pliers to change the station, which resulted in me getting my tube socks shocked off on more than 11 occasions—which may explain a lot!).

Anyhoo, I still say there's nothing quite like a good book, a warm blanket, and crackling fire—as long a there's sufficient distance between all three, of course.

Here are a few Dave's Book Bits-worthy links that I've come across:

• Here's a Newseek story about how watching lots of the idiot box can be unhealthy for kids—conjure up in your mind the characters on the spaceship in Wall*E.
• Here's a fun audio interview from NPR with Jon Scieszka, who doesn't seem to need my help in getting publicity; he's everywhere. But when you're the Library of Congress' first national ambassador to children's literature, you've got a bully pulpit, so why not use it?!
• Lastly, if you want more information on the detrimental health effects of media exposure on kids mentioned above, you can get the fully story and download the actual study here.

So as you can see, my thinking is a bit scatter shot these days, not that that's at all unusual. Hope your holiday has more yee-haw and less humbug! Merry Holidays!

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