01/29/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Every Monday Matters: "Learn, Grow, Escape... Read"


Only 1 in 6 people read 12 or more books a year.

Fewer than 50% of today's adults are literary readers, meaning they read novels, mysteries, contemporary and classic fiction, short stories, plays, or poetry.

55% of women read for leisure compared to 37% of men.

43% of all literary readers perform volunteer and charity work compared to 17% of non-literary readers. The more books people read, the more active and involved they are in their communities.

Book buying constitutes less than 6% of total recreational spending while spending on music, videos, computers, and video games constitutes roughly 25%.

Take Action Today

1. Read a book you've never read before. If you don't have one on your shelf, go the library or local bookstore, or just order one online.

2. Join a book club or start one with your friends or co-workers.

3. Give books to people as gifts... especially Every Monday Matters!

Reading is like exercising -- mental and physical benefits flourish with regular practice. Reading improves language skills, vocabulary, and spelling skills; it introduces new ideas, perspectives, and information; it staves off the effects of aging by keeping your mind active; it provides a vehicle for mental escape and creativity; and it relaxes, entertains, and inspires your soul. So take time out this holiday season to read... this column doesn't count.

You Matter

"I have not read a book in years," admitted Rana Rolland, a 40 year-old sales director in Minneapolis, MN. "It is actually embarrassing to admit that fact, but at least that has finally changed."

Rana has made us laugh (in a good way), because she is the story of a self-proclaimed non-reader turned Twilight fanatic. Twilight junky, if you will -- a familiar story for millions of other people in the world.

"I started reading the first Twilight book, by Stephenie Meyer, during Thanksgiving vacation," shared Rana. "I was at the airport before a long flight and was looking for something to read besides my usual 'high-quality,' pop-culture magazines. You know, the ones with all the break ups and make ups. And I stumbled upon Twilight."

Apparently, Rana had no idea what she was getting herself into. Today, just one month later, she is now in the middle of the fourth book in the Twilight series. If our math serves us correctly, that is roughly 2,400 pages in 30 days, or 80 pages a day. Not bad for someone who has not finished a book in years.

"I am so glad I picked up this book. Times have been a little stressful with work lately, so it has been so nice to 'escape' into this fantasy world. It has also really sparked my imagination, and I feel like I am once again using a part of my brain that has been dormant for a while," shared Rana. "I kind of feel like a kid again, in a strange sort of way. It's fun."

The holiday season is always a great time to relax, put the feet up, and do things that get lost during the busy year. Whether it's vampires, history, espionage, cooking, or how to make a difference in the world, we hope that you take the time to open up a book and enjoy the many benefits that fall within its pages.

Rana, thank you for your honesty and humility... we just hope you find your next great series soon!

Visit to buy the book, get involved, and share your stories about making a difference in the world. You matter.