This is old news in many sad ways. According to Associated Press, a quarter of Americans don’t read books. I’m not surprised, but I am disheartened. As may be evident from previous posts, I work in a bookstore where I’m constantly bombarded with the axiom “Well, at least they’re reading” in response to purchases of The Secret and chicklit titles. That’s like saying “Well, at least they’re eating” when someone’s diet consists of potato chips.
Some key points:
- “Of those who did read, women and pensioners were most avid readers, and religious works and popular fiction were the top choices.”
- “Every other genre – including politics, poetry and classical literature – were named by fewer than 5% of readers.”
- “There was even some political variety evident, with Democrats and liberals typically reading slightly more books than Republicans and conservatives.”
- “Book sales in the US have been flat in recent years and are expected to stay that way indefinitely”
Why must people live up to stereotypes? Reading doesn’t have to cost money. Libraries are free, and librarians are dedicated advocates for reading and the freedom to do so. So why, in this so-called free country, do people choose NOT to read thereby choosing NOT to express and exchange ideas? What exactly are they afraid of?
From the Guardian