I love language and spelling and grammar. I love new words and definitions and the way you can construct a sentence that is mind blowing. I own over twelve different dictionaries or thesauruses of varying sorts (Descriptionary: A Thematic Dictionary, The Dictionary of Difficult Words, Thesaurus of Phrases, etc). I know, weird. However, they do come in handy. I finished the book Ella Minnow Pea last night. I could try to describe it, but I'm sure I would do a poor job. (A description is here) I have a fairly decent vocabulary, but this book made me make very good use out of my dictionaries and skills in deduction. As the characters have to resort to more and more outlandish ways of getting their point across, they begin to use words, dare I say most of us?, aren't using in our daily lives.
I have read a lot of articles about the dumbing down of America and, specifically, children's and young adult literature (the debate over the Twilight series comes to mind). I don't think it's a surprise to anyone that I think we are doing a disservice to everyone by this trend. I wish literature, good quality fiction and nonfiction literature alike, was a higher priority for most. I know a lot of people who don't read, won't read and it's a shame. It has been proven time and again that, "persons who read more write better, speak better, and know more. Naturally, then, they are more successful in life" (George Gallup).
I believe we not only need to read, but gravitate to the things that will challenge. The books you need to think about or that make your opinions a little uncomfortable as you work through them or even the ones that make you learn a new word or two. I love a good fluff novel as much as the next person, but if all we read is fluff, I'm afraid of what may happen to our brain. Is it a matter of you are what you read? Moderation is key. I think it's important to teach our youth that reading really is fundamental and that reading a wide range of topics will make a more balanced person and open doors never thought possible. For that matter, I wish we could teach adults that breaking out of their comfort zone and reading different genres really isn't the work of the devil.