Jim and I attended a fundraiser for Carolina Day School and the Literacy Council of Buncombe County this week. It was a reception for and talk by Elizabeth Kostova, author of The Historian (2005) and The Swan Thieves (2010). The Historian was the first debut novel to ever make it to the number one spot on the New York Times bestseller list in its first week. It is the fastest selling debut novel ever.
I will confess I was more interested in meeting a hugely successful author than I was in supporting either non-profit agency. But after the event I realized that I should have been much more interested in supporting learning and reading than I was in schmoozing.
Did you know that 43% of adult Americans read at or below the most basic reading level? And that among industrialized nations, the US is FIFTH in literacy skills? I was astonished. I read and write every day. I take it utterly for granted.
Harper Lee said, “Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.”
If you can read, read The Historian, it’s delightfully eerie and although it’s lengthy, it will hold you. And if you can read, find out how you can help someone who can’t, learn how. The Literacy Council.