I finally heeded the urging of all the young 'uns around me and joined MySpace. I've even enlisted my homegirls twenty-year old brother to pimp out my spot, LOL. In addition to inviting people I already know to join my list of friends, I did a search for members who listed one of books among their favorites. More on that in a minute 'cause I want to end on a good note.
But first let me vent a little on a heartbreaking observation. Of course, I'm a biased author, but I truly believe that books -- like music -- are for everyone. Now I don't expect everyone -- especially young people -- to be as avid a reader as I was (and still am.) Today's youth have so much more competing for their dollars and attention than I ever did. But there is literature out there for all tastes, interests, and, yes, even attention span! Hell, browse the daily paper or pick up a comic book or graphic novel once in a while. It's all good!
Now I can't say it was a surprise to browse MySpace and see how many young men don't read. I've accepted that despite the fact there's literature for everyone, not all people like to read, and that for various reasons, men are particular inclined to do so with distinct purpose rather than for pleasure. So be it. Boys especially have even more competition -- from videos to sports -- for their disposable income and recreational hours. But so many of the young men were practically BRAGGING about HATING books as if they much preferred to suffer a swift kick to their nether parts than read.
When the @#$% was reading declared unmanly and who do I bitch slap for that?
OK. Enough of the negativity and onto the good stuff. After having my heart broken at the scores of boys who hate books, it was put together again by the number of fans of my books on MySpace. I emailed each and every one I could to give them my thanks for their support. I'm looking forward to getting to know them better. And since they're overwhelmingly female, maybe we can come together and organize around getting the men in our lives to read.
I've already started at home. My father like to read occassionally, but of course, he much prefer to watch TV. Now Ive got him reading about two books per month. When I visited my parents in Puerto Rico where they've retired, I packed a bunch of books-turned-movies for Pa. I offered to help him put up that hammock he had lying in the corner of the gazebo and then handed him The Godfather. When he finished it, I handed him Runaway Jury. When Pa finished that, I handed him Disclosure. Now my parents are back in New York for a spell, I made sure to stack up on more mass paperbacks suited to his taste. He even asked me, "You got any more books."
It hasn't been made into a film, but I gave him Michele Martinez's Most Wanted (that's right, tweak that Latino pride) which he completed in days. Then he moved on to Mario Puzo's Omerta. And when he's finished with that, I've already got Deep Freeze by Lisa Jackson waiting for him. Mind you, I have yet to read any of these books myself. Then it's off to the bookstore to stack up on all the John Grisham, Nelson De Mille, and Michael Crichton I can afford. That should buy me some time to dig out The Da Vinci Code wherever the heck I stored it.
For now it's back to MySpace to add a slogan to my home page: Real Men Read.