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October 06, 2004

A Jolly Good Read

Yesterday's Daily Yomiuri carried a couple of articles on efforts to stimulate interest in reading, in the U.K. and the U.S., both of which have seen dramtic declines in reading levels in recent years. The BBC's "Big Read" campaign was started last year in response to surveys that have shown declining reading skills among British children. The broadcaster compiles a list of the nation's most popular books, as chosen by viewers. Inclusion on the Top 100 list has proven to be a big boost for sales of lesser-known titles. The No.1 for some time has been J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings."

Another article looked at the success of America's oldest continuous book club. The 125-year old Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle is open to anyone, and members are required to read at least three titles a year from a selected list during a four-year period. Diplomas are issued to those who submit reports on 12 titles.
Articles: You're never too old to start reading a book (link will expire)
BBC - The Big Read web site
Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle web site

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