Shhhh! Listen...you have to sit very still to hear it. But if you do it's almost deafening. It's the sound of children all over the world reading. Isn't it amazing? They're not watching television, or hanging at the mall. They have their noses in a book the size and weight of a bowling ball.
The latest wave of mass reading started at about midnight last Friday, when the last installment of Harry Potter was released. Some managed to complete it by Saturday morning. Others are anxiously tapping their fingers and watching their siblings read, waiting for their turn. Most are huddled on couches, in corners, sprawled on their beds; engrossed in the imagination of J.K. Rowling. My 8-year-old is currently reading book one. My mother just called and asked to borrow book two, both caught up in the excitement and trying to catch up.
It was all any of the kids could talk about at church on Sunday:
"Who's finished it?" "Don't tell us anything!" "My sister's reading ours. She's taking forever."
Whether you love her or hate her, or think her work is of the devil (yes, there are some that think that), you can't deny that she's brought the excitement of reading to a new generation. And it's spreading. Last night I got a phone call from one of the girls in my neighborhood asking if she can borrow Twilight, a novel by LDS writer Stephanie Meyers that all the teen girls around here love. Unfortunately it's loaned out already, has been ever since my daughters and I finished it. In fact, I got a new copy from one of the people who borrowed it, the copy I'd loaned her got so hammered. So I gave the girl the names of some others that have it (including the neighbor that ended up buying her own). I suspect she's tired of watching her sister reading their only Harry copy. Whatever. They're reading, and I'm grateful to those brilliant women who have helped it happen.