When I was called to report for jury duty the other day, I packed a bag as if I was going on a very long journey. I brought crackers, grapes, a granola bar, and a bottle of water. I brought a notebook stuffed with writing prompts, a handful of pens, a pencil, an older issue of Glimmer Train magazine, and a book of short stories. I was ready for anything, even a full day of sitting and waiting.
That was exactly what happened. I waited...and waited. I ate all the crackers and grapes, drank all the water, read the whole issue of Glimmer Train and half the book of stories. I got cranky. I dozed. I walked around. But, as I wandered, I saw something that made me happy: I saw people reading. Actual books.
Yes, some people talked to each other and on cell phones, checked their email, and watched TV BUT most heads were bent over magazines or books. I saw Dennis Lehane's newest book, a hardcover by Jodi Picoult, one by Nelson DeMille. I also saw a number of paperbacks - some new, some old and creased - but I wasn't nosy enough to find out their titles.
So, the next time someone laments the future of printed books or reading in general, I suggest they volunteer for jury duty. They just might like what they see.