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25 Random Things About Reading

Jade (via Margaret) of the Itzabitza blog compiled and posted this great list of 25 Random Things About Reading, reproduced below. A lot of it made me smile.

1. Reading about yawning makes you yawn.

2. Books used to be shelved “backwards” with the spine facing the back of the shelf and the fore-edge facing out.

3. Research now indicates that the 4- to 6-year-old age range is the sweet spot for teaching reading. Beyond the age of 6 or 7, teaching a child to read is a game of catch up.

4. On average across the world people spend 6.5 hours a week reading.

5. According to a study from Yale University, three-quarters of students who are poor readers in third grade will remain poor readers in high school.

6. Dr. Seuss coined the word “nerd” in his 1950 book “If I Ran the Zoo.”

7. It takes an average of 475 hours to write a novel.

8. Books that were penned or conceived behind bars include Don Quixote (Miguel de Cervantes), Pilgrim’s Progress (John Bunyan), De Profundis (Oscar Wilde), and the Prince (Machiavelli).

9. Books used to be chained to the bookshelves in libraries.

10. The ratio of customers to bookstores is highest in Nevada, Texas, and Mississippi.

11. On the average, a bookstore browser will spend eight seconds looking at the front cover and 15 seconds scanning the back cover.

12. Half of all books sold today are to people over the age of 45.

13. Adults who read literature on a regular basis are more than two-and-a-half times as likely to do volunteer or charity work, and over one-and-a-half times as likely to participate in sporting activities.

14. The largest advance ever paid for a self published book? A whopping $4.125 million. Simon & Schuster paid that for Richard Paul Evans’ The Christmas Box.

15. Women buy 68% of all books sold.

16. The page most readers lose interest at? Page 18!

17. A glimpse into the NASA library reveals astronauts’ preferred reading includes A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, 20,000 Leagues under the Sea by Jules Verne, and London Bridges by James Patterson.

18. The longest reading aloud marathon by a team lasted 224 hours and was completed by Milton Nan, Silvina Carbone, Carlos Antón, Edit Díaz, Yolanda Baptista and Natalie Dantaz (all Uruguay) at Mac Center Shopping,Paysandú, Uruguay between September 13-22, 2007.

19. The Penguin paperback was created to make books as affordable as cigarettes, and the first Penguin paperbacks were distributed from a church crypt.

20. Nancy Pearl, in addition to being the most famous librarian in the world, is also now the only librarian to have an action figure created in her likeness.

21. Studies have shown that American children who learn to read by the third grade are less likely to end up in prison, drop out of school, or take drugs.

22. The 1930’s reading primer series Fun with Dick and Jane by Dr. William S. Gray is rumored to be plagiarized from Sir Fred Schonell’s similar Dick and Dora readers, found in his Happy Venture Playbooks.

23. It is estimated that limited literacy skills cost business and taxpayers $20 billion in lost wages, profits, and productivity annually.

24. A bibliokleptomaniac is someone who steals books. One of the most famous bibliokleptomaniacs is Stephen Blumberg, who stole more than 23,000 rare books from 268 libraries. He had various methods for acquiring his estimated 20 million dollar collection, including climbing through ventilation ducts and elevator shafts.

25. The term “bookworm” derives from tiny insects who feed on the binding of books.

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