In my high school civics class, taught by blind Mr. Heath, he asked the class: What do you want to be or do when you grow up?
My hand shot up and then I yelled his name so he would call on me. (He was blind, remember).
All right Candy, what do you see yourself doing as an adult?
Need I tell you that my answer then turned out to be pretty prophetic.
I blurted out enthusiastically: I want to be a professional reader. That's what I want to do.
Mr. Heath laughed. The whole class did. But I was not trying to be funny.
I did become a reader, although not a professional one. Not sure what that even is really - an editor, a paid and published book critic, perhaps, maybe even working for a press clipping service, a librarian, etc
Ah, I am just an amateur reader, then. Fell a little short on the professional part and the monetary compensation for reading all day. But the whole Reach for the stars and if you fall short, at least you get the moon bit holds true. The moon is not exactly a bad deal. My amateur bookishness has blessed my life more than I can say.
Let the Government stop thinking of reading and books as part of "education", and more as part of a healthy existence. If they can set a target of five fruit and vegetables a day for the adult population, why can't they set a target of 20 books a year? Why shouldn't the GP, faced with an aimless, purposeless, depressed patient, not inquire "Are you reading enough?" just as they might say "Are you eating sensibly?"
Fifty books a year while in education; 20 a year throughout adult life. That might turn our lives around.