I Like Big Books And I Cannot Lie

Some blogs back I wrote of how bewildered I was that there were people who didn’t read for pleasure. I’d made the awful discovery courtesy of a now ex-boyfriend who didn’t/doesn’t—gasp, swoon—read. The relationship didn’t go or end well although, in retrospect, a writer and rapacious reader trying to find common ground with a non-writer and non-reader was always doomed to spectacularly fail.

The blessing in disguise (and I’d have to say a heavily cloaked, visible-only-if-you-squint-and-happen-to-be-a-glass-half-full-kind-of-person disguise) was that this guy inadvertently ‘helped’ me realise I have not one iota of interest in dating someone who isn’t a reader so voracious that you have to hide your books from them lest they snarfoo and devour them before you’ve even cracked the spines.

So what I love is the following video, which is cheesy to the hilt but so, so clever on so many levels.

It ingeniously encourages kids (especially boys) to read by:

–        involving the kids in the video

–        connecting with them using a hit pop culture song with a fun and memorable rhythm and lyrics

–        using a non-reading tool of delivery (You Tube), but one with which kids are familiar

–        utilising social networks and viral marketing to convey its message (I found out about it via a friend in London posting it on Facebook, and I’ve subsequently posted it myself)

–        making nerds and reading sexy (hooray!)

–        breaking down the high vs low literature debate by encouraging kids to read, whether it be graphic novels or John Steinbeck

–        targeting all kids, but particularly boys, as the protagonist who’s surrounded by lots of reading ladies throughout is male

–        not taking itself too seriously.

It even contains an incisive, insightful literary quote from Mark Twain (which I didn’t personally know): ‘A man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read’. Mmmm, deep.

I’m sure reading habits have increased in this school and plenty of kids are now rapping the lyrics to this brilliant video. Me? I can’t get the song out of my head and am heading back to rewatch it and learn behind ‘I like big books and I cannot lie. Informative or sci-fi…’

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Fiona Crawford

Fiona Crawford is a freelance writer, editor, blogger, proofreader, and voracious reader. She regularly appears as a book reviewer in Australian BOOKSELLER+PUBLISHER magazine. Fiona is also (unfairly) known as the Book Burglar due to her penchant for buying family members—then permanently borrowing—books she wants to read herself.