Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Seattle is the Most Literate City in America, Again!

This is from Shelf Awareness and USA Today newspaper:
Seattle has once again topped the list of America's most literate
cities, but this year Washington, D.C., edged traditional literate city
powerhouse Minneapolis as a surprise runner-up. The annual study by Jack
Miller, president of Central Connecticut State University, "focuses on
six indicators: newspaper circulation, number of bookstores, library
resources, periodical publishing resources, educational attainment and
Internet resources,"

Seattle tops list of literate cities

By Mary Beth Marklein, USA TODAY
Cities where lots of people read also tend to feature a vibrant singles' scene, a study suggests. It finds that Boston, Seattle, Washington, D.C., and Atlanta boast high rankings both as "literate cities" and as places for single people to live.

The study is by Jack Miller, president of Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Conn., who for seven years has compiled the literate-cities list. It focuses on six indicators: newspaper circulation, number of bookstores, library resources, periodical publishing resources, educational attainment and Internet resources.

Seattle and Minneapolis have typically traded the top two spots, and this year Seattle comes in first. But Washington, D.C., edged Minneapolis out for of the No. 2 spot.

This year, Miller correlated results with rankings based on other surveys by Forbes, Bert Sperling's BestPlaces, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and American City Business Journals.

Among findings, top literate cities also:

•Tend to offer the most active singles' scenes: Boston, Seattle, Washington, and Atlanta

•Are safer: Minneapolis, Boston, Seattle, Portland, Denver and Cincinnati

•Are more walkable: Seattle, Washington, D.C., Portland, Boston and Denver

•Are healthier: Washington, D.C., and Denver

But Miller also found that these cities are not immune to hard times. Only Washington had relatively low unemployment.

For more on the findings, go to

America's most literate cities for 2009:

1) Seattle
2) Washington
3) Minneapolis
4) Pittsburgh
5) Atlanta
6) Portland, Ore.
7) St. Paul
8) Boston
9) Cincinnati
10) Denver

I loved the movie "Rain Man" with Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman, as I found it to be tender and wise, something that doesn't often happen in movies today.
Sadly, the original "Rain Man" has died, but the movie and the actor who played him had a profound effect on his life. Hurrah for the effect of art to change lives!
This is from MediaBistros FishBowl LA Blog:

The Real Rain Man Has Died
By Pandora Young on Dec 22, 2009 03:38 AM

Kim Peek, the mentally disabled savant who inspired the Oscar-winning film "Rain Man," died Saturday of a heart attack. He was 58.
Peek was a mega-savant with the ability to recall 98 percent of everything he read, saw or heard. Peek's remarkable mental abilities left such an impression on screenwriter Barry Morrow that he was inspired to write the movie "Rain Man." The film, while fiction, significantly raised public awareness of Autism, Savant syndrome, and mental disabilities.
The film was beneficial for the deeply introverted Peek as well, helping him learn new social skills. From the Times Online:
It was not until he met Dustin Hoffman, when the Hollywood star was researching his role in "Rain Man", that he could look into another person's face. He was 37 at the time.

Dustin Hoffman advised Fran Peek not to hide his son away. Mr Peek said of that meeting: "Dustin Hoffman said to me, you have to promise me one thing about this guy, share him with the world. And pretty soon it got so that nobody was a stranger to him, they were people, and so was he".
He took Hoffman's advice, putting his son on stage in front of thousands of people for whom he answered, almost always correctly, the most obscure questions they could test him with.
He thrived on his new found fame. Mr Morrow said of him: "I love the way he's flowered, it belies the myth that people don't change, especially people with developmental disabilities."
Four years before his death, Mr Peek said: "I wasn't supposed to make it past about 14, and yet here I am at 54, a celebrity!"

And finally, the Couth Buzzard Used Bookstore, a haunt of mine for 10 years when we first moved to Seattle and lived in Phinney Ridge and Ballard, closed down last year to much sorrow and protest by locals who had loved the 30 year old store.
Fortunately, a young man named Theo bought the store and its contents and is reopening on Greenwood and 83rd, just down the road from the original location in January, 2010.
This is heartening news for booklovers in the Seattle area, because the best book bargains were always to be found at the Buzzard, along with some great conversation, and now you can get a cuppa joe there as well!

This is from an email I got from the owners:
Greetings Friends of Couth Buzzard Espresso Buono Cafe.
Well, the New Couth Buzzard Books Espresso Buono Cafe had a week exceeding our expectations! A special thanks to all our old and new friends who came by.

And, our Grand Opening Party is Saturday, January 9th all day. Food, Fun Entertainment. Come on by and check out our new digs. Let me know if you can help, or if you want to do a little performing.
Theo, Penny and Gerry

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