Tuesday, February 18, 2014

"A reader lives a thousand lives."

“A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.”
― William Styron, Conversations with William Styron
         Do Americans read more than we think or are we just good at lying on research surveys?  According to data collected by the Pew Internet Research Project ( January 2014) 76% of American adults ages 18 and older have read at least one book in the past year, (69%) of adults have read a book in print in the past 12 months, 28% read an e-book, and 14% listened to an audio book. One potent combination we cannot deny is the love affair between books and movies. Either an unforgettable story inspires a fantastic screenplay or an emotional, compelling movie prompts the resurgence of a previously published book (2007) as is the case of the incredibly powerful eyewitness account of Operation Red Wing by former NAVY SEAL, Marcus Luttrell.  (Twelve Years a Slave and The Monuments Men are further examples.) 
 Stories are intended to be retold again and again. There will always be deeply penetrating glimpses of another life we want to reread or watch on screen over and over, allowing us to understand and share our humanity.

      So what are Americans reading? Specifically, in the non-fiction category, the number one best selling book in the country as of February 18th, 2014 (New York Times)  is Lone Survivor by former NAVY SEAL, Marcus Luttrell with Patrick Robinson.

         2.) The Monuments Men, by Robert M. Edsel with Brett Witter. The novel based on historic facts   was the basis for the screenplay of the current movie The Monuments Men.

        3.) Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup.  First published in 1853, the book Twelve Years a Slave is the narrative of a free man who was kidnapped, sold into slavery, and spent 12 years in bondage before escaping. The recently released movie which has garnered many film awards brought forth the  potency of the formidable journey.

       4.) Duty by former US defense secretary, Robert M. Gates

       5.) Killing  Jesus, by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard. The host of "The O'Reilly Factor" recounts the events leading up to Jesus' execution.

       6.) David and Goliath, by Malcolm Gladwell.  Gladwell is also the author of  the best-selling "Outliers" and "The Tipping Point".

       7.) Things That Matter, by Charles Krauthammer.  Essays spanning over thirty years from the life of the conservative columnist.

        8.) All Joy and No Fun, by Jennifer Senior. As a journalist, Senior examines how parenting has changed over the past fifty years.

        9.) Glitter and Glue, by Kelly Corrigan.  Corrigan's memoir explores the beauty and complexity of  mother and daughter relationships.

       10. ) Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand is based on the true survival story of an Olympic runner who was a prisoner of the Japanese in World War II.