There are more people on the face of the planet reading more text than at any time in history. Before you get too excited about that, keep in mind what people are reading: memes, texts, social media posts, stupid introductions to music playlists.
Most of the reading that we do these days is analogous to eating fast food. Sure, we’re taking in calories, but that’s pretty much all we’re doing.
I do a whole bunch of the kind of reading, and I enjoy leisure reading–pure entertainment like novels and magazines. But I eat my vegetables, too. I give myself homework assignments like presidential biographies or the Bible in an effort to fend off the brain equivalent of a beer gut and bingo wings. Who knows? Maybe next month I’ll make my way through art history or how to restore a wristwatch.
Do your brain a favor: Pick up a meaty book now and then. Not right now, though. Now’s the time to check out some reading songs:
“Don’t Believe What You Read,” Boomtown Rats.
“I Can’t Read,” Tin Machine.
“In the Mind of the Bourgeois Reader,” Sonic Youth.
“A Note That Read,” Bert Sommer.
“Please Read the Letter,” Robert Plant and Allyson Krauss.
“Reading In Bed,” Emily Haines and the Soft Skeleton.
“Why Johnny Can’t Read,” Frank Zappa.
“Read Between the Lines,” Slayer.
There you have it: Eight tracks to accompany your reading. What did I miss? I’m listening.
Paperback Writer comes to mind. But honestly, I’m so struck by the sadness of the Emily Haines and Bert Sommers songs that I’m not thinking clearly. Cheery way to start the day.
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Sorry, Sim, but aren’t they great?
“Dear Dad” – Chuck Berry
“The Letter” – The Box Tops
“The Letter That Johnny Walker Read” – Asleep at the Wheel
“Take a Letter Maria” – R.B. Greaves
“Johnny Can’t Read” – Don Henley
“A Letter From Home” – Johnny Cash
“Who Wrote the Book of Love” – The Monotones
“Everyday I Write the Book” – Elvis Costello
“Love Letters in the Sand” – Pat Boone
“Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah! (A Letter from Camp)” – Allen Sherman
Allen Sherman was a nice curve ball. Well done, Robbo!