New York Times
Yahoo News reports that several rescue measures are underway to meet head-on the financial crisis that the New York Times is currently facing. This includes an investment of several million dollars that the “billionaire Carlos Slim Helu” is said to be considering. In addition, the Times is said to be planning to raise a good deal of additional capital by selling its newly constructed 52 story Manhattan headquarters.

Finally, the great and legendary Red Sox Nation may be pleased to learn that the Times is also selling its stake in the Boston Red Sox. Now there is an investment that is worthy of consideration.

Taken together, the proceeds from these actions should be more than enough to guarantee the continuation of the Times as we have known it for years, including the treasured, by this reader, print edition.

On Reading
Ann Patchett in the January 16th Wall Street Journal writes that she is not surprised by the recent NEA report that reading appears to be on the rise. In Nashville, where she lives and serves on the Library Board, the director of the libraries reports that their survey confirms the NEA findings and indicates that their patrons “say the main reason they’re coming to the library is for books! We have to get the word out. It isn’t over. People still want to read!”

Patchett writes: “I have long refused to participate in the last rites of what is both my passion and my profession. I meet too many people who stay up half the night racing towards a final chapter. We are a hardy bunch, we readers. The rumor is we’ll play around with a Kindle or an I-Book for awhile but eventually give up on the whole endeavor…I am more of the Charlton Heston school: you’ll get my paperback of “One Hundred Years of Solitude” away from me when you pry it out of my cold, dead hands.”

Patchett is also a firm believer in “the fact that it isn’t so much what you read, it’s that you read. Reading fiction not only develops our imagination and creativity, it gives us the skills to be alone. It gives us the ability to feel empathy for people we’ve never met, living lives we couldn’t possibly experience for ourselves, because the book puts us inside the character’s skin….I’m all for reading bad books because I consider them a gateway drug. People who read bad books now may or may not read better books in the future. People who read nothing now will read nothing in the future.”

I know of no more eloquent statement of the value of reading literature, nor of the variety of positive effects it can have. She concludes: “Why are more people reading? Because they are either discovering or remembering just how good it can be.”