Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A Nation of Non-Readers

A recently released AP Poll(with an accuracy rate of plus or minus 3 percent) found that one quarter of all American adults read no books last year!

As a writer, this is brutal news.

True, there are others on the opposite end of the Reader Spectrum. One woman polled read approximately 70 books last year -- more than one a week. She's an older woman, with arguably more free time to read. She comes from a generation that was taught the importance of reading for one's self, envisioning the printed page in the mind's eye, and making up one's own mind.

What will become of this and future generations who do not find the same joy and value in the written word?

Reading occupies an entirely different set of mental muscles than watching a movie, watching TV, or playing video games. Reading is an engaged activity that allows two different minds -- the writer's and the reader's -- to meet without an electronic interface.

Reading allows one to connect with others on a cellular level. Through their writing, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Xenophon, William Shakespeare, and the Apostle Paul, for instance, are alive and well in this day and age.

Reading enables us to wrestle with others' ideas and learn from history.

But, according the this recent poll, one in four don't read.

They work.

They probably watch.

But they don't wonder enough to find out why.