Wednesday, August 22, 2007

We are not a nation of readers

If I didn't read over the summer and during my winter break I might have fallen in the "haven't completed many books this year" category since many of my classes at seminary only require us to read sections of books and not whole books (especially the theology classes). I do love to read, I just don't take the time to do it. I wonder how many people like me are represented in this poll:

One in four U.S. adults say they read no books at all in the past year, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll released Tuesday. Of those who did read, women and seniors were most avid, and religious works and popular fiction were the top choices.

The survey reveals a nation whose book readers, on the whole, can hardly be called ravenous. The typical person claimed to have read four books in the last year — half read more and half read fewer. Excluding those who had not read any, the usual number read was seven.
With the lure of the Internet and TV, I find it very hard to tear myself away and spend time reading. It really can be a time-consuming activity and the type of books that I like to read (thrillers -- I'm reading The Judas Strain now) are over 300 pages. I usually stay up to all hours of the night reading or take weeks to finish a book.

My daughter, Sarah is an avid reader. She read 153 books last year in a competition with my mom. She won by one book :-) Her sister Samantha is not a reader, she loves to watch movies and Disney shows on the Internet. I let her do it way too much but I do force her to read (I just sent her to her room to read for an hour). I'm hopeful that she will eventually develop a love for books if she's around them enough.

Another interesting aspect of the study is the type of books we are reading:
The Bible and religious works were read by two-thirds in the survey, more than all other categories. Popular fiction, histories, biographies and mysteries were all cited by about half, while one in five read romance novels. Every other genre — including politics, poetry and classical literature — were named by fewer than five percent of readers.
Good to see that the Bible is still being read by the majority. Though I'm sad to see that so few are reading classical literature. And I would be happier about those who were reading "religious works" if I didn't know that probably means Joel Olsteen and Joyce Meyers.


  1. Heather said...
    I saw this article too. I've been in love with the printed word since that magical day when I was five when all the letters began making sense to me. So, it saddens me to know that reading books is not a popular past time anymore.
    Moonshadow said...
    "Those likeliest to read religious books included older and married women, lower earners, minorities, lesser educated people, Southerners, rural residents, Republicans and conservatives."

    Oh, come on, that's just gratuitous journalism.

    Last Friday at the Eatontown Borders store, I noticed that the end caps in the Christian Inspiration section were blastered with atheist titles.

    This, imo, was a subtle but progressive shift from 18 mos. ago when the shelves were devoted to The Da Vinci Code and The Gospel of Judas.

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