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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review July 2, 2014 / 4 Tammuz, 5774

A few words on the sad decline of reading

By Ana Veciana-Suarez



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | OK, so I am biased. I'm partial to the rhythm and melody of language, to the thrill of a well-turned phrase, to the surprise ending -- didn't see that coming! -- of a superbly plotted story.

Surely that must be why it's so difficult for me to understand how others prefer to stare at a screen instead of a page. (Unless, of course, that screen is displaying sentences.) For the umpteenth time in I don't know how many years, a national study reminds us that people like me, avid -- some might even say obsessive -- readers, are growing rarer by the mouse click.

A recent study from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the average American spends only 19 minutes a day reading.

Nineteen. That's embarrassing.

Young people read even less. Americans 25 to 34 years old spend about eight minutes a day on weekends and holidays reading, even less than those ages 20 to 24, who devote 10 minutes. And teenagers? Our plugged-in, thumb-centric youth read only four minutes on their days off. If not for school, many of our children might never encounter a book or magazine.

Americans over 75, on the other hand. spend more than an hour a day reading on weekends and holidays, thankfully nudging up the national average. That means the written word, printed on paper, has become the purview of the old.

Unfortunately, the BLS figures confirm every other reading study of the past two decades. Just last month, the nonprofit group Common Sense Media revealed that there has been a drop in reading for fun among all kids, most dramatically among adolescents, and, not coincidentally, at a time when there's been "a stubborn lack of improvement in reading scores among teens." Both studies blame technology.

It breaks my heart. Not the technology part. I love my smartphone and my apps. And I'm addicted to "The Good Wife" on CBS and "Sherlock Holmes" on Netflix. But nothing equals the quiet, solitary pleasure of reading. Much of what I know about the world, about different people and exotic cultures, I've learned through that combination of magic and craft that is good writing and deep thinking.

Few seem to know or appreciate this, though. Take a good look around your doctor's waiting room. How many patients are playing with their phones or staring blankly at the flat-screen TV on the wall? More, I'll bet, than are engrossed in a magazine or a book.



This scene is repeated again and again in airports, commuter trains, buses -- all those bustling places where a good read once provided comfort and harbor.

But, hey, look at how we've designed our homes. Who has libraries anymore? And reading nooks, why, they're positively Victorian! Though there are magazines and coffee books on my accent tables, both our family and living rooms are dominated by mammoth television sets. I read in my office or bedroom. Like the madwoman in the attic, my beloved habit has been exiled far from public view.

Yet not all is lost. I like to think we are reading in different ways, in shorter spurts, and on nontraditional media. I need to believe this in order to sleep well.

Earlier today, one of my sons handed me a bag from the chain restaurant Chipotle with a very brief essay by the brilliant writer George Saunders. "A Two-Minute Note to the Future" is part of the company's Cultivating Thoughts Author Series.

"Know him?" my son asked.

"Of course," I replied, as if George and I were intimates.

He began to read and, for a few glorious minutes, was lost in thought, transported to that world I know so well, that place my mind and soul inhabit only when I read.

When he finally looked up, brow furrowed, I knew he, too, had gone there. "Interesting," he said, pointing to the essay.

Absolutely. And encouraging and promising and reassuring.

I thought: He knows, he understands, that incomparable act of communion with the written word.

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Previously:


Handwritten letters: File under 'obsolete'

How did we all get by without all this stuff?

Ah, the freedom of summer

Work is less stressful than home

Let's not forget the play part of kindergarten

The food police keep giving us conflicting nutritional advice

Are Millennials moving us toward a post-racial society?

Times change, but the love of a grandparent is constant

Think before you dial, text, FaceTime, Skype, chat

Don't sacrifice too much at the altar of busyness

It's not about Gywneth Paltrow; it's about our insecurities and need to compare

Will you love me, granddaughter, when I'm (really, really) old?

We are failing to protect our children from abuse

The story of Marissa Alexander: When justice is blind, deaf and dumb

Why do women 'shop' in their friends' closets?

Mr. Smiley Testing My Patience

We're not forgetful, we just know too much

Why didn't I think of that? Another missed opportunity for invention

When being fair is really not, and other life lessons

Bridging the Generation Gap Has Gone Too Far


Ana Veciana-Suarez is a family columnist for The Miami Herald



© 2014, The Miami Herald Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.

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