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Editorial: Take a look, it's in a book

Being in the newspaper business, we tend to enjoy seeing the written word getting a proper boost of attention.

Never mind the best way to get most people interested in a good book is to make it into a movie. Let’s ignore the fact Angry Birds has taken the place of the paperback in waiting rooms across America. We look at our communities and find there’s still hope for a literate tomorrow.

It’s fairly easy and popular to bemoan the slow death of the written word in today’s society. Text messaging, Twitter and the now-quaint email have been replacing the demand for clarity with that of speed and brevity, with predictable results.

This has seemingly not only produced a generation with only a tenuous grasp on grammar and spelling, but one that values quick and immediate gratification over substance. Yet when it comes to writing, efficacy is not the only measure of worth.

It took F. Scott Fitzgerald nearly three years to write the fairly short book “The Great Gatsby,” for example, and a great deal longer for it to be recognized as a modern masterpiece. In contrast, the most popular titles on bookshelves today are written for children or young adults and are churned out on a seemingly annual basis. They are not without value, however.

We can hope the swelling resurgence of the book as a relevant part of popular culture will help to instill our youth with the capacity and desire to read and even to write. It has never been easier for lovers of either activity to embrace their passions than it is today. Old barriers have been torn down to open the path between would-be authors and would- be audiences. It’s truly an exciting time for the industry and craft as a whole.

That’s why we entreat parents whose children have that passion for reading (and most do at one time or another) to nurture that desire. There are many, many things vying for the attention of youngsters these days, and many of them are much more flashy and immediately satisfying than reading a book. At the same time, we’d argue few provide such great opportunity for intellectual growth than that which is found in electronic or paper pages.

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