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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

In Town and Beyond

It’s cozy today at the bookstore, with jazz on the CD player and boxes of decorations and holiday books to unpack. Even the bank was cozy this morning, where the view toward the harbor through the Thanksgiving-themed window also shows the Christmas “Toys for Tots” collection sign and heavy construction equipment parked on the street. Everything is going on in town at once: the sewer project, Thanksgiving dinner shopping, Christmas decorating, last-minute gardening. The weather is mild, making everything easier for a while.

Yesterday’s big news item in the book world was also on the regular evening news on NPR. It was the new report from the National Endowment for the Arts saying that while “reading scores among elementary school students have been improving, scores are flat among middle school students and slightly declining among high school seniors." Also, "the percentage of adults who are proficient in reading prose has fallen at the same time that the proportion of people who read regularly for pleasure has declined.” There was a bit about time spent reading vs. watching TV, but I haven’t seen a statistic yet for being online. Does what you’re doing now count as reading? Maybe you should get offline and pick up a book!

But if you’re looking to entertain yourself online for a few minutes a day, try feeding the hungry while testing your vocabulary. For every correct answer, you’ll be donating ten grains of rice to the needy. I checked this out on Snopes, where the status of the rice donation “legend” is given as TRUE. Donations are paid for by advertisers whose banners appear on the page. Once--the word was ‘malinger’--I wanted to choose NONE OF THE ABOVE for my answer, but that choice was not available. That’s a minor quibble.


Z said... is fun. I "donated" 480 grains of rice before a visitor at the door took me away.

Laurie said...

Pamela, did you see that you now donate 20 grains with each correct answer? And that the proficiency levels now go up to 50? Apparently the response has been so terrific that adjustments had to be made. I donated 3600 grains of rice this afternoon before I tore myself away (I was beginning to feel I was in the thrall of the bowl). I wonder how many grains constitute the average bowl of rice. Great idea to create a link on your site.