Kurt Hackemer, a University of South Dakota history teacher, has noticed the same effect on his entire family since he moved them to a small South Dakota town and didn't bother to connect the family television set.
Since moving to rural Vermillion without cable TV, Kurt Hackemer says he and his family read more....
It's not like they banned television from their household - they just haven't gotten around to hooking it back up yet. But it's been more than a year now.
"During the first week, our kids - Anna, 9 and Will, 5 - were thinking that this is just awful, terrible, but then they forgot about it," says Hackemer, a University of South Dakota history teacher.
Hackemer read about 10 books during the Christmas break, but says he reads a lot with or without TV.
"Right now, the crazy reader in our family is my daughter," Hackemer says. "That kid reads four or five books at a time, all piled on her nightstand next to her bed, with bookmarks in all of them. She'll walk in her room, pick one, read it, and the next night be into a different one."
Hackemer is not the only person up in South Dakota who has made the connection between increased reading and lack of interest in television's offerings.
Tim Gebhart estimates that he reads 50 to 70 a year, in a broad range of topics.
"I don't watch television very much," says Gebhart, a Sioux Falls lawyer. "I probably have read that much for as long as I've lived."
..."Years ago on a family trip to San Francisco, I told the kids we could start with a Giants game, or go to Golden Gate Park, or China Town, or I know of this really good bookstore," he says. "They said 'Let's go to the bookstore!' So that's the first place they ever went in San Francisco."
I don't know if the quality of television programming has really declined in the last few years or if my perception of what is being offered is what has changed. But whichever it is, it is nice to rediscover that good books are always there to pick up the slack.