In response to "Reading at Risk" and to my father's commentary, both noted here, I am working on the following essay. It is a work in progress.
I am, in the eyes of many of my peers, afflicted by a most peculiar
eccintricity: I love books. There are several drawbacks to this, of
course, such as the pain of carrying boxes of the things when I move,
and finding space for bookshelves everywhere I go. Yet I insist on
buying them, scrounging for them in give-away piles, carting them
around, making them a part of my life.
The reason my compatriots find this somewhat odd is that we sit in the
heart of the technologically "hip" generation. I am a scientist, an
astronomy graduate student by day (and often, night) spending my time
designing cutting-edge instruments to probe the beginning of the
universe. I am 24. This places me in the midst of the much-discussed
18 to 24 demographic, coveted by marketers, possessed of hypertrophied
thumbs from constant text messaging, arbitors of "cool" -- and,
according to the NEA, the segment in which the reading of literature
has declined most sharply in recent decades. So even though, word for
word, I read considerably more off of a computer screen than the
printed page, being as I am a rather anemic consumer, lacking in
either cellphone or huge digits, probably more "uncool" than anyone
has the heart to tell me, and, yes, an avid reader, I stick out.