Taking an extra day off as part of my Labor Day weekend, I spent most of the day on the couch with the windows wide open, reading. I had already finished my last book, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, about a girl who can taste emotions in her food. Kind of like a reverse Like Water for Chocolate, but set in the suburbs with a typically dysfunctional family. It's probably true that like many other e-readers, I am reading a bit more nowadays. The Wall Street Journal recently reported on the habits of e-reader'ing folks like me:

A study of 1,200 e-reader owners by Marketing and Research Resources Inc. found that 40% said they now read more than they did with print books.... While e-readers are still a niche product just beginning to spread beyond early adopters, these new reading experiences are a big departure from the direction U.S. reading habits have been heading. A 2007 study by the National Endowment for the Arts caused a furor when it reported Americans are spending less time reading books. About half of all Americans ages 18 to 24 read no books for pleasure, it found.

I choked a little on the train platform when I read that last line in my newspaper. Half of Americans read NO books for pleasure? None? I bit my lip with concern.

I am already a healthy 81% through this weekend's book, Orange is the New Black the story of a woman sent to prison for thoughtless involvement in drug smuggling in her college days. Ten years later, after she'd seen the folly and uselessness of her actions, the Feds catch up to her and send her to jail for a year. There she (a white girl who graduated from Smith) is mixed up with all types and shares her reflections, including how hard stoicism can be when they take away your underpants. (My favorite line, so far.)I recommend both books, for a holiday weekend or part of the hibernation planning that anyone who lives in Chicago will begin to think about as the days grow shorter and colder. What will I read during the months of being under the blanket with a cup of tea, instead of the sun and cool breeze?



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