In Kim Curtis' review of Daniel Mason's latest book, "A Far Country" ["A lack of rain, a torrent of words," Books, March 11], Curtis writes, "The only distraction in Mason's beautifully told, heart-wrenching tale is his need to impress readers with his broad vocabulary. A horse is 'spavined' rather than 'lame,' a fiddle has a 'threnodial,' not a 'sad or somber' sound."

It is a sad commentary when even book reviewer's expectations of the general public are that we aren't intelligent enough to either know what "spavined" means, or are too lazy to get a dictionary and look it up. I read recently this country has become so illiterate that publishers are now dumbing down cookbooks.
This is probably the best (or worst) example of how education has fallen off our list of priorities. If we continue down this nescient road (look it up), we will be in far more dangerous waters than anyone could possibly believe.·—Maura Callahan, Snoqualmie

Editorials & Opinion: Monday, March 19, 2007, copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company