Sunday, February 15, 2009

Good News: People are Reading More, or Are They?

In today’s tough economy, with publishing house staff facing layoffs and too many bookstores edging closer to bankruptcy, you might be surprised to learn that reading is actually on the rise, according to a study conducted by the United States Census Bureau in 2008. The study reports that for the first time since 1982, the number of adults who’ve read a novel, short story, poem or play in the past twelve months has increased. The number of literary novels being read isn’t as high as it was in 1982, or even 1992, yet there has been a dramatic rise among eighteen to twenty-four year olds.

Several times over the past decade, I’ve heard anecdotes about the “dumbing down” of America, about people refusing to read any kind of novel that requires thinking. I’ve also heard that the average American reads at the level of a grade five student. I have no idea if this is true, but if more people are reading literary works, the dumbing down trend is certainly debatable.

Critics of these types of studies also argue that reading never really went down. People simply chose to do their reading online rather than by purchasing a book. Also, earlier studies apparently didn’t differentiate between people who read several books a month to those who read only one poem. Nor did the study differentiate between those who read Charles Dickens or Nora Roberts. So, take all of this with a grain of salt. And keep reading! Read a lot! Read everything and enjoy yourself! Which reminds me, a friend sent me the words of wisdom below. I’ve heard them before and I thought I’d share.

Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming “Woo Hoo what a ride!”

It wouldn’t hurt to have a couple of paperbacks in your back pocket either :)

To read excerpts of Taxed to Death and Fatal Encryption visit


Emily Cross said...

Hi all,

How are you?

i'm sorry to bother you, but I've recently started up a community forum for writers called the The Writer's Chronicle(mainly for those who blog) where we can meet and discuss all that is writing with other 'online' writers. Also with the recent addition of some published author members we have decided to set up a section to support published writers and help them promote themselves and their books - as we all know how hard it is to get published and how its even harder to get a large readership!

I know this email is out of the blue, but i was hoping that you might drop in and take a look around and perhaps join if your interested?

I'd greatly appreciate it,


Emily Cross

The link is:

Anonymous said...

It's great to know that there are a lot of readers out there even if we are facing a world financial crisis. Even in admission essays, the students are fully aware of the present economic situation. Books are important to gain more knowledge. It is OK to read book online but it is much better to have hard copies.