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5 Book Lover Role Models On TV

I’ve had this idea for a blog post for quite some time, but frankly it took a while to even find any book-lover role models on TV.  We stopped at five simply because we couldn’t think of any others.  If you think of any more, please send them our way!

So why aren’t there more such characters on TV?  Now that’s a very good question…  Post your thoughts by commenting below.

In No Particular Order…

Brick from The Middle

You’ve got to love Brick from The Middle, especially when contrasted against the sorry lot that is the Heck family.  Poor Brick goes almost completely unnoticed at home, but we’re pretty sure he’ll end up inventing flying cars or cold fusion.  Keep on reading Brick.  We hope you can survive the mediocrity around you!

Giles from Buffy The Vampire Slayer

In full disclosure let me say that Buffy the Vampire Slayer is one of my favorite shows of all time.  Need I remind you that TV Guide once referred to Buffy as the “smartest show on television”.  Fans will remember that Giles’ erudition never failed to save the day with last minute demon-killing tips that would, literally, save the world.  Plus he looked really cool in tweed, and he had a hot girlfriend.

Rory from Gilmore Girls

Rory was rarely seen on Gilmore Girls without a book in hand, and her love of reading propelled her from the sleepy confines of Stars Hollow to a lofty career in journalism.  She seems to have started something of a frenzy in the blogosphere, too, with dozens of now-defunct blogs detailing everything she read on the show and more.  There was even something called the Rory Gilmore Book Project online at one point, but alas, it no longer exists.

President Bartlet from West Wing

He wasn’t often shown reading on West Wing – I suppose that wouldn’t make great television – but every episode was laced with literary quotes from President Bartlet, often from the Bible.  Let’s just hope you can’t actually become president, even a TV president, without a lot of reading in your life.

Sawyer from Lost

LOST might have concluded with a lot of questions unanswered, but one thing was perfectly clear: Tough-guy Sawyer loved to read.  Death-dealing smoke monsters and busted reading glasses couldn’t keep him away from his books for long.  And all that reading touched off a lot of on line chatter about book references on the show.  Check out this list of books from LOST, and the LOST Books Challenge.

Honorable mention: Captain Jean Luc Picard of Star Trek fame, and Lisa from The Simpsons.  Many thanks to our Facebook Fans for their contributions to this article.

Bradley S. Wirz, Founder & CEO

P.S.  Please flatter us by subscribing to this blog via email or RSS Feed.  Doing so plays a big role in supporting our philanthropic mission to build libraries in the developing world!


True Blood Books vs. True Blood TV Show: A Bloody Debate

Don't let Eric catch you reading those Charlaine Harris books.

Book lovers aren’t going to like this one…

The new season of True Blood premieres tonight on HBO, and I’ve got to give credit to their marketing folks for stirring up a timely debate amongst fans in the article 10 Reasons Why True Blood is Better Than The Books Its Based On.  The politically-correct sentiment among literary types is that the book is always better than the movie or TV show; and I agree that it usually is.

But perhaps True Blood is that rare exception.  I have it on good authority that this article brings up some good points:  My wife has rabidly absorbed every single Sookie Stackhouse book (plus several others by Charlaine Harris) and never misses True Blood on TV.  She assures me that this is not an empty debate.

A debate, nonetheless, it is.  Share your comments below and let us know what our loyal Gone Reading fans think of the controversy.  It’s OK to pick the TV show; we’ll love you either way.

P.S.  If you enjoyed this little article, please flatter us by subscribing to this blog via email or RSS Feed.  Doing so plays a big role in supporting our philanthropic mission!

Bradley S. Wirz, Founder & CEO

ReaderClass: The Best Idea The Airlines Will Never Adopt

I’ve done more than my share of flying.  Some rough math tells me I’ve flown between Atlanta and New York alone some 500 times.  My Delta SkyMiles account says that I’ve flown close to 2 million miles over the last 20 years.

By now you know that I love to read more than just about anything else.  And flying always reminds me that I’m not alone; everyone seems to be reading on airplanes.  And although bookstores are struggling to survive, airport bookstores will probably be the last to disappear.

reading on airplane, reader class

Don't you wish that reading on airplanes was always this pleasurable?

Flying is so synonymous with reading that “airplane reading” has been part of our lexicon for decades.  Heck, my philanthropic brand GoneReading™ is entirely based on the idea that people want to get away and read.  Ask 10 people why they love to read, and I’ll bet eight will say it’s because reading helps them to escape from their day to day lives.

Yes, reading and air travel go hand in hand.  Unfortunately, reading in-flight can present its challenges.

One evening years ago I experienced the joy of boarding a 5+ hour flight, eager with anticipation for the ancient history classic in my bag.  After takeoff, I looked up to see that the bulb for the so-called reading light was completely missing.  I will never forget the flight attendant’s calm voice assuring me that it wasn’t a problem: She’d already filed a service request with the maintenance department back in Atlanta.  Awesome.

And we’ve all met the talkers on airplanes.  If I’m reading a book with my headphones on, not looking your way and not even responding to your pointless questions, isn’t it clear that I don’t want to talk?  Even faking a nap doesn’t make the point; I’ve tried.

Which brings me to the subject of this article, what is surely the best idea the airlines will never adopt:  ReaderClass.

Here’s how I envision ReaderClass:

  • A special section of each airplane dedicated to people who are planning to read during all/most of the flight.
  • A talk-free zone; maybe my favorite aspect of ReaderClass.  Shut up and read.
  • No infants or toddlers.  If they’re not going to read to themselves throughout the flight, sit elsewhere.
  • Extra bright reading lights (with spare bulbs on board).
  • An electrical outlet for charging my eReader of choice.
  • Extra wide seat pockets for holding my reading material/device of choosing.
  • Complimentary noise reduction headphones upon request.

And here is why I think the airlines should pay attention: I’m pretty sure people would pay an up-charge for ReaderClass.  I know I would pay enough to make it worth their time, and I’m sure I’m not alone.

Prove me right or wrong by commenting below.  How much extra would you pay, if anything?  Let’s start a movement.  Worst case, if it doesn’t happen we will all have one more reason to hate the airlines.

Happy Reading!

Bradley S. Wirz, Founder & CEO, Gone Reading International, LLC –

My Love of Reading, My Secret Desire to Serve Time, and How Readers Can Change the World

For me, reading is as good as it gets.  For as long as I can remember I’ve had an attraction to books that is hard to describe.

I remember how badly I wanted to check out a real book – one with no pictures at all – from my elementary school library, and how the librarian sat me down and asked me to read the first paragraph.  After I stumbled through the first sentence, she politely sent me back to the picture books.

In the fifth grade I desperately wanted to read J.R.R. Tolkien’s Return of the King.  I just knew those pages were filled with magic, but I still couldn’t make it through the first few pages.  And as I realized many years later, Return of the King is actually the last book in the trilogy!  My love of reading was years ahead of my ability to comprehend.

The first “real” book that I read to completion was Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White.  I raced through it without blinking, and I was hooked for life.

Ever since then I’ve been a hardcore reader, the kind of person who doesn’t even go to the doctor’s office without something interesting to read.  Each new phase of my life has begun with a visit to the library, bookstore, or more recently, Amazon.  Learning to sail, landing an internship, getting a job, starting my first business… I learned it all from reading.

My love of reading sometimes hits ridiculous extremes: When watching the news and hearing about so-and-so’s life sentence to prison I perversely think “Lucky bastard. Now you can spend all day just reading.”  And while prison probably doesn’t actually work that way, in the back of my mind it sounds pretty awesome.

Quite separately, my love of reading has blessed me to the point that I recently founded a philanthropic brand called GoneReading™.  The first lifestyle brand of apparel and gifts for those who love to read, GoneReading™ donates 100% of after-tax profits to fund library and literacy projects in the developing world.  Readers, just like reading itself, can make a tremendous difference in people’s lives.

And so my love of reading continues.  Right now I’m spending quite a bit of time at the local library researching my plan for GoneReading™ to, ironically, build libraries around the world.  As you might imagine, I’ve got a lot of reading to do.

If you love to read, and if my story sounds at all familiar, then please follow along and get involved with the GoneReading™ story.  By doing so I think you will find that your own love of reading can truly help change the world.

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