Sunday, September 30, 2012


Lasrt night whilst enjoying some Napa Valley cabernet (1992 Von Strasser for those of youse who insist on the specific) under the stars, the hubby and I were talking about, among other things, his recent read of a study that shows that ten books within a household makes a HUGE difference in a kid's academic success.  Ten Books?  I was appalled.  Later, I googled the subject and while I saw several references to this concept, the lowest number of books threshold I saw was 25 books.  Still.  25 books is not a lot, is it?  (And this was based on a very quick google so the threshold could still be the lower ten books).

So I looked at the hubby and asked, how many books do you think we have?  After thinking/estimating, he replied, "About 8,000 books ..."

See, a lot of people would think that's a lot of books (of which poetry is but a portion).  But I haven't had a sense that we have A LOT.  I've just been going through life reading what one is interested in and, you wake up one morning and suddenly you have 8,000 books! 

Studies show that it's not just the number of books, of course, but the culture that comes with it.  We've not been didactic on this issue with Michael.  But he obviously is growing up in a house with tons of books, seeing both Mom and Dad frequently read, and taking for granted that he's supposed to read ... and he does read himself to sleep every night now.  So, relatedly:

The other day, Michael and the hubby were discussing an English homework.  And Michael's class is apparently reading some Kurt Vonnegut novel about how the population is forced (?) to be exactly like their leader.  Like, if their leader is fat, everyone has to be fat.  If their reader is a redhead, everyone must dye their hair read (I am making up these examples because I don't know this Vonnegut novel).  So the hubby asked Michael what he thought of this Vonnegut story.  Michael replied, "It's like how Muslim women wear the same robes ..."

Blog Reader, I wept with happiness upon hearing of this incident.  Michael, of course, was referring to the burqa, though he didn't know to call it as such.  And I don't know how close is the linkage between the Vonnegut tale and the notions underlying the burqa.  But for Michael to have leapt from the Vonnegut story to something in current events displayed the leap from knowledge-acquisition to applied knowledge that has long made me suspect he is strong in the Humanities.  It's been complicated to assess this factor since so much is masked/affected by the fact that he's studying in a language (English) that he's been speaking for less than four years.  But what he's achieved/is achieving to date wouldn't even be possible without reading.

Another bonus for us, his parents?  We now know that the library that we'd been creating all our lives will go to a good home someday -- into Michael's life.  What a blessing, indeed!  It is such a kick to see a kid blossom. 

Actually, it is a kick to see any human being blossom ...

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