Tracking my America: Where Horses Run Fast and Residents can Read


My home town of Lexington, Kentucky may be called the “Thoroughbred Capital of the World,” but as we in the Blue Grass realize that Derby Day is fast-approaching, we find ourselves, also, racing toward literary laurels that were far from expected.

Last year Lexington found itself on the fast track to a rather unfortunate reputation.  Some of you might remember a post I did in the summer celebrating my home town’s ranking by Men’s Health Magazine as America’s most sedentary city.  In fact, my amazingly lazy Lexington even made the Colbert Report and was awarded the highly coveted “Reacher-Grabber Award.”

As of last week, however, Lexington seems to have overcome that rather dubious designation, as an article at Atlantic.com identified my home town as the most e-literate city in America.

Last year’s “award” may have reinforced the stereotype that Kentuckians are lazy-ass, barefoot fools, but this year’s commendation makes us look a whole lot smarter.

In Gulliver’s Travels, the protagonist travels to a land of intelligent and talking horses and brutishly ignorant people, known as Yahoos, who smell bad and barely bathe.  Lexington’s novel designation, however, seems to suggest that the  horses here in Kentucky may have a monopoly on speed but not on intelligence.

We Lexingtonians may be lounging in our living rooms consuming endless bags of Lays, but we recline with e-reader in hand–not racing to the library to check out the latest New York Time’s best seller.  We don’t even need the Reacher-Grabber Colbert awarded us.  We simply strain our index fingers, downloading books with the push of a button.

We readers from the city of sloth allow our town to retain its reputation as a place where only the horses run fast–or run at all, for that matter.  The rest of us avoid-sweat-at-all-costs Kentuckians, rather than running for the roses, read our way to the finish line.

At least the world now knows that Kentuckians can, indeed, read, even if shoes are sometimes optional.

54 thoughts on “Tracking my America: Where Horses Run Fast and Residents can Read

  1. lol, Kathy. A rare humorous post from you! Me like!
    As a displaced southern girl myself, I am way more often barefoot than shod. 🙂 Personally, there was a time when Kentucky was nothing but farmland, and I don’t know anyone that works as hard as farmers. So, maybe it’s just break time, no?

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  2. Ah, the dichotomy of Lexington. It seems to me you and your state-mates have it all figured out, and are, indeed, smarter than the rest of us! I will join you in your bid to read your way to any looming finish lines, it’s the best way to travel.

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  3. OK, I’m thinking I need to kick off a cross-country book tour in good ol’ Lexington, KY. I can promote the heck out of the Kindle version of No Time For Kings…and, I have a place to stay! Of course, I’ll need to bring along my trusty assistant, Ms. Cutler. 🙂

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  4. I drove through Lexington last week on my way home from the Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop! I’d never been to Kentucky before but the people there were so amazingly nice to us. I fell in love with the place. The beautiful landscape didn’t hurt either!

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  5. So your hometown embraces e-readers? That’s fantastic! The joy of reading. Can there be anything better? I love Colbert, but I don’t remember the award. Was that given this week? Colbert’s on my TiVo, and will hopefully watch this weekend. 🙂

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  6. You are hiliarious … and I LOVE the Colbert report .. how did I miss this?
    Those stupid online polls are ridiculous. I’m SURE that Mississippians have you beat my a country mile at sitting on your ass. They win everything, darn it!

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  7. Haha– I had forgotten about the coveted Reacher Grabber award, but it all makes perfect sense now– everyone in Kentucky is too busy reading e-books and can’t be interrupted long enough to get active and/or break a sweat. Thank you for unraveling this mystery for us! 😉

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  8. It’s hard to believe any generalizations. Lots of folks think people from the UP are illiterate, and, well, I won’t add any more descriptions. I continually find people who are incredibly different from the mold. Thank goodness!

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  9. As someone who loves to read, I can understand this. It’s really difficult to walk, run, bike, or exercise in any other way while reading. Unless, of course, you switch to audio books, but that’s not reading. It’s listening. 🙂

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    • Yes, reading is a sedentary activity. Though I have to admit, I’ve figured out how to read on a Kindle while on my stepper or stationary bike. Took some getting used to, but with a Kindle I can increase the font size so it’s easier to see while moving.

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