According to an AP article, a recent survey showed that a full 27 percent of adults in America read no books last year. The survey, which sadly is neither unusual nor surprising, contains a variety of interesting results. It’s worth looking at but here’s some of the core findings reported in the news article:
- “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 hadn’t read any, the usual number read was seven.”
- “There was even some political variety evident, with Democrats and liberals typically reading slightly more books than Republicans and conservatives.”
- “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.”
- “More women than men read every major category of books except for history and biography.”
While the article focuses on the survey results, it also compares it prior surveys. I am also guessing the guy who is quoted saying, “I just get sleepy when I read” may regret being quoted — but given the poll results, maybe not.
Regardless of which survey you look at, my reading habits and consumption once more mean I am vastly outnumbered. Again, though, it’s a minority of which I’m proud. And for those who wonder how I manage to read as many books as I do: There is something called an “off” button on that mind-numbing device known as a television and the limited quality in that wasteland is easily perused in just a couple weekend hours with a recording device and fast forward button.
Just think of the wonderful impact on our youth and society if even half the hours “reality TV” is on in American households were devoted to reading.
Books are humanity in print.
Barbara Tuchman, The Book