A friend recently told me that she wanted to start reading again and avoid the "evil box" -- TV. I'm glad that she wants to read more because I would like to discuss books with more people in my real life and not just online. However, it aggravates me when people call TV evil. There are plenty of true evils in the world but I don't think that TV is one of them. The effect of TV has a lot to do with what you choose to watch.
In the 50+ years that TV has been in existence, the quality has changed. Yes, there is still a lot of questionable material on the air, but I've also watched a lot of shows that have made me think and sparked deep discussions between me and my husband. Also, I've read books that weren't any better than a poorly-written sitcom, and I'm pretty sure they didn't enrich me intellectually as much as an episode of "CBS Sunday Morning News" or "Breakfast with the Arts".
I think of reading and TV as entertainment choices without one being any better than the other. There are some kinds of information that you can only get through reading, but I also think it is difficult to keep up with society without watching at least a little TV. I look at people who say they don't watch TV and people who say they don't read the same way -- as if they are missing a vital part of American culture.
I started "The Life of Pi" by Yann Martel this morning. This is a book that my reading buddy Maestra picked as part of our goal to read more books from the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list. So far, there is very little dialogue and not much action, which makes it difficult reading for me. Frankly, I wouldn't be pushing through it at all if I didn't have a partner. I'm beginning to think that literary fiction is not my thing. The only book I've enjoyed out of the ones Maestra and I have read together was "Main Street" by Sinclair Lewis. I have a feeling that "The Life of Pi" is going to be one of those books that I won't necessarily enjoy but will be proud to check off my list.
I'm also reading "Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream". I actually started reading this book before "Life of Pi", but it hasn't grabbed me yet. I read a page while waiting for water to boil or something, then put it down for the rest of the day. The concept is intriguing; a guy strikes out after college graduation to see if he can get a job and improve his lot in life without using his education or any of his college or familial connections. The writing style is definitely easier to read than my other book. I don't know why I haven't sped through this book yet.
TBR LIST: As I said at the beginning of the year, my only goal is to either read or eliminate all the books that I added to my TBR list in 2008. I started with 25 titles at the beginning of the year and I am down to 24 now. It has only gone down by one because even though I've removed several 2008 books from the list, I've also moved some books from my "not at my library" list to my TBR list because my library has gotten them in. Goodreads counts them as added in 2008 because of when I added them to the first list, so I'll go with that. I have high hopes of zipping through this small subsection of my TBR list quickly because several of the books are light Christian romances. The only snag I can foresee is that some of these same romances are first books of a series, and I may get sidetracked into reading all the series books first!