Thursday, August 23, 2007

Why Aren't You Reading?

A new poll from the Associated Press-Ipsos reveals that America isn’t reading. One in four adults didn’t read a book last year. One in four. I find that amazing as well as depressing. For those who did read - women and older people - it was mostly bestselling fiction, mainly romance in the southern regions, and religious material. Why aren’t we reading more?

I know a lot of people who don’t read at all. When I talk about what I’ve just finished reading or what I’m about to start reading I get blank stares. I’m looked at as if I’ve got giant lobsters crawling out of my ears and at any moment they might attack. Is it really that strange to be a bookworm in American culture?

The excuse I hear the most is "I don’t have time." For some people I believe this is true. My parents are both avid readers but between full time jobs, everyday living, and a brand new baby in the house, life is full. It’s a choice between a cat nap or a book. But at the end of the day it is just that, a choice to do something other than read.

I also hear "I don’t like to read." This answer just boggles my mind. You don’t like to read? How could anyone not enjoy a good book? People are constantly talking about how they need a break from work and the hassle of everyday living. They need a vacation. A good book is just that — an escape, a vacation, an adventure.

Open a book and the world opens, expands, and engulfs you. You go places and meet people you might otherwise never get a chance to come into contact with. Any genre can do this for you. I love travel essays for that very reason. I doubt I will ever see the Antarctic with my own eyes but I can read about it and experience it through someone else’s. Then you have the biographies that lay before you lives that have been lived to the fullest extent, for good or for bad, and you get a slice of time that belongs to no one else. Histories that as you turn pages jump to life. Books on science and political issues that expand your limited world view; all of that in just non-fiction.

Whole worlds await discovery in the fiction section, not just fantasy and science fiction but in the thrillers that take you to cities you have never seen and the hometown romances that show you a slice of life you will never experience. Each author presents things a little differently and gives the reader more to explore and become a part of.

A good book will change you - I truly believe this - and at the end of the day no one has a good excuse for why they aren’t reading more.

12 comments:

Angela/SciFiChick said...

I read so much and talk about books around the office, that I've actually gotten a couple coworkers reading more now.
I feel my job is done. lol

Katie said...

Most of my coworkers just look at me funny... I think they see me coming and if they could they would run away and hide. :)

Remy said...

I can't get my wife to read anything. You would that seeing me read book after book would give her an urge to read but nope!

I agree with your assessment that a great book can change your life and I think everyone should read.

- Angela

lol, None of my friends/coworkers/family read books. I am always talking about it and so far I have gotten my brother hooked on Guy Gavriel Kay. I count this as a minor success!

dingobear said...

I'm one of those that doesn't read (much). Not that I don't like to read, it just a matter of not enough hours in a day. I'm sorry but reading blogs like yours takes priority! :-)

Katie said...

I think it is the TV. I really do. People don't "have time" to read, but you know they are watching hours of TV a day. I prefer to do both! :)

NouveauBlogger said...

I agree. Its definitely TV. Perhaps flipping a remote is easier than flipping a page? And I do both as well.

minijonb said...

it's the blogs. i always blame the blogs. it's probably more like i've stopped reading before i go to bed, but blaming blogs is so much more fun.

Katie said...

Katie, I think your right. TV is a huge part of it. So many people would rather watch TV than read. Not that TV is all bad, I watch my fair share, but I like to have a balance of things.

Nouveau, :) I think your right. Maybe people see TV as less work...

MiniJonB, I think blogs are part of it too! A lot of people are reading blogs, newspapers, and magazines but not reading books.... go ahead and blame it on the blogs? :)

Katie said...

Dingobear, :) Finding the time to read is hard. I read on my 15 min. breaks at work and at lunch. I don't always have time to read once I get home. I'm glad you come to read my blog! :)

Katie said...

Remy, my husband is like that. He reads some but not like I do. :)

Nothingman said...

you've said what itches me most about people in today's world, they just don't bloody read. I say BAN TV. reading books should be made mandatory!

I just don't get why people don't read and it bewilders me too!, if they would stop watching tv there is so much time in the whole day that 24 hours just don't seem to end! read books in that time.

And yeah, if i haven't told you already you should check out www.shelfari.com . It is a must for you!

;)

N

Katie said...

Nothingman, I totally agree. :) And thanks for the link, I've checked it out and it SO cool! :)