Word and Rhyme

Fiction Poetry Life


Word and Rhyme is a blog about how literature and life intersect.

Reading literary fiction, poetry and plays seems to have fallen out of favor in our modern age. Outside of high school or college English classes, people aren’t reading the giants of literature so much anymore. According to the National Endowment for the Arts 2012 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts:

More than half of American adults read a work of literature or a book (fiction or nonfiction) not required for work or school. However, adults’ rates of literary reading (novels or short stories, poetry, and plays) dropped back to 2002 levels (from 50 percent in 2008 to 47 percent in 2012).

The NEA’s Reading at Risk report further states that the number of people who read literature in 1982 was 57 percent. Literature reading has decreased by 10 percentage points in 30 years.

The best place to read...a comfy chair in a cozy room.

The best place to read…a comfy chair in a cozy room.

Is Literature Relevant?

Are literary works read and valued less these days because they seem irrelevant and disconnected from modern everyday life? While it’s true that literature can sometimes appear inaccessible and hard to relate to, I believe it’s as relevant today as it has ever been.

I love movies, and television, and Broadway show tunes and country/western songs – all great sources of great stories. But nothing compares to losing yourself in the pages of a novel or short story that attempts to do more than tell a good tale, that attempts to unearth and examine raw human emotion and behavior without flinching, all while telling a good tale. And nothing compares to the way an observant poet can clarify and eternalize just a brief moment in time through a tightly controlled use of words, rhythm and syntax, proving all over again that less is more.

That’s what this blog is all about. With each post, I take a literary work, either classic or contemporary, and try to expand on one small aspect of the story, poem or play that is relevant to life in today’s fast-paced, electronic-driven world.

Who I Am

My name is Johanna Chambers. I’m a storyteller myself. After graduating from Northwestern University and spending eight years in the workaday world (while writing on the side), I went back to school and received an M.A. in Creative Writing from Boston University. I now have a laundry list of short stories that I’m forever revising. In recent years, it’s been difficult to commit time to writing and reading literature. This blog is my commitment to my belief that literature is still relevant and to the craft of writing.

photo credit: marcp_dmoz via photopin cc


8 comments on “About

  1. Alexander Atkins
    December 17, 2013

    Hi Johanna: Thank you for visiting and following Bookshelf. Bookshelf is written for people just like you — those who love literature and find it relevant and meaningful in life. Look forward to reading your posts. Cheers. Alex

  2. Johanna Chambers
    December 18, 2013

    Hi Alex, thank you for stopping by! Your blog is awesome, keep up the interesting and informative posts!

  3. Dennis Cardiff
    January 2, 2014

    Hi Johanna, it’s a shame that reading is in the decline. A book that changed my life is “Crime and Punishment”. It explored ideas that I had never contemplated before and instilled in me an interest in psychology. All the best for 2014. ~ Dennis

    • Johanna Chambers
      January 2, 2014

      Hi Dennis, thank you for your comment. Isn’t it wonderful how a book (particularly a work of fiction, something that you can lose yourself in) can have such an impact? Happy reading and blogging in 2014!

  4. The Reading Girl
    January 24, 2014

    Hi! Thanks for the follow :). Looking forward to your posts 🙂

    • Johanna Chambers
      January 25, 2014

      Hi there, thank you for stopping by and for following! I love your blog’s tie-in with Audrey Hepburn!

  5. Vee
    January 25, 2014

    Hi Johanna, thank you for following http://www.honeylemontea! Reading literary works has always been such a large part of my life and unlike you I am still “writing on the side”. :-). It’s great to connect with like-minded people on the web. Oh, it doesn’t hurt that you also share my love of country/western songs. Best wishes!

    • Johanna Chambers
      January 25, 2014

      Hi Vee, thank you so much for stopping by and for following my blog! I really enjoy your blog’s mix of book reviews, recipes and other interesting articles. It’s a very cozy spot on the web — I will be visiting often!

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