Gut Rumbles

March 30, 2006

quote of the day

"The Missus and I got out of that place as fast as we could. A house without books is a house without a soul, and we could not stand to be inside it."--- elisson

My father gave me something for which I always will be grateful: He taught me to love reading and to love books. (See? It's HIS FAULT that I was an English Major.) From the time I first grasped the idea that I could READ (seven years old, first grade, looking at a Bugs Bunny comic book one evening and suddenly realizing that I could read the words in the bubbles over Bugs' head), books became my Door Into Summer, the magic portal through which I could travel to anywhere and do anything.

I read everything I could get my hands on. I not only learned a lot that way, but I also thoroughly enjoyed myself. With a little imagination, I had the best playground in the world right there inside my head. And the more I played in it, the bigger it got.

Stories such as this one depress me. I'm not surprised that so few high school seniors read well. Public schools really DO suck today. But what's really sad is the fact that if public schools set out DELIBERATELY to short-change students, they couldn't do a better job than they do right now by neglecting to teach reading.

I want to barf every time I hear some clabber-brained idiot extolling the virtues of bilingual education or some preposterous notion that "Ebonics" is a legitimate language. Teach a kid that learning to read and write English isn't important, and you might as well strap an anchor to his leg for life. Guaranteed failure. That's a handicap he'll NEVER overcome.

A house without books isn't a home. It's a prison cell, stagnant and deviod of dreams. And a person who can't read is doomed to stay there.

It's worse than a place with no soul. It's a place with no hope.


I always appreciate someone's ability to throw in a gratuitous Heinlein referencem. And to one of my favorite books, too.

Posted by: physics geek on March 31, 2006 02:13 PM

You'd love my house. Books everywhere. We even built shelving over an entire wall (looks like a bookstore) and it overflows.

My daughter is a writer. She is 16 and reads and writes like nobody's business. But she is not a product of a public school system. None of my kids were. Not in's bad here.
We went private, Catholic school the whole way.

This year I will bust my butt to make the $10,000/year tuition payment for her junior year in a private, Catholic high school.

We aren't rich and she isn't "privledged", she just has parents who think her education is worth working for. Fortunately, so does she.

Posted by: A Different Kim on March 31, 2006 02:15 PM

Rob, this is the best post you have written in ages. I totally agree.

Read on!

Posted by: Angie on March 31, 2006 02:29 PM

You are absolutely right. I think back to a landlady I had in Maryland. Books were something to put on a shelf in a closet, something to be hidden. Result was that her kids all were total washouts in school and then had to struggle to make a living at all. The whole concept of an education was totally alien to them.

I was lucky in that my parents were bookaholics. We had books all over the place. If my mother was cleaning house and found a book she hadn't read before, that ended the cleaning until the book was done. The house wasn't a pigsty, it was just that books were important and the concept of reading was drilled into us at a very early age. Result is that my brother and I both are avid readers to this day and I am 65 and he is 70.

Posted by: dick on March 31, 2006 04:33 PM

I'm surprised that even 51% can read on a college freshman level! I graduated from a backwoods school, (well not so backwoods now) and was way ahead of my peers in reading/writing. I figured college would be this way as well...My first two days in the hallowed halls of Georgia Southern my attitude drastically changed! I was average!

But my parents LOVED to read, and taught us that reading was very important and that without good reading skills you couldn't make it in the world. Now I want to call my dad up and thank him...

Posted by: Steph on March 31, 2006 04:44 PM

Yeah, I'm with you there Rob. I don't think I could live without books. I've been reading since I was a little kid too. I used to go through 5 or 6 books a month. Nowadays I only have time to get in 1 or 2 a month. My wife raises hell with me all the time. Two of the bedrooms in my house and the garage are wall to wall lined with books I've read. I'm running out of house to put the books in. Even my bedroom is half filled with books. I don't understand our education system today. Anybody of high school age that can't read needs to be dragged off and shot. What the fuck good are you if you're damn near grown and still too stupid to read? There is no excuse for it.

Posted by: assrot on March 31, 2006 07:30 PM

If one doesn't like to read, one cannot be an educated man. I don't care how many degrees one may have conned out of the system.

Posted by: Brett on April 1, 2006 05:56 PM

Reading is the foundation of learning, and the key to great communicative abilities.

To forgo reading is to forgo training the mind to dream, therfore to think, therefore to create.

Posted by: Ole Blue on April 3, 2006 08:43 PM
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