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Is Reading Dead? January 30, 2008

Posted by bookgoddess in Books, readers, Reading.
Tags: ,

I have to tell you all that we see a lot of articles in the library and publishing periodicals about the decline in reading.  Young people especially, we are told, don’t choose books for entertainment and learning.  Bookstore sales are down.  I was in a media megastore near Disney World not too long ago and I would have to say the book selection was sadly sparse. 

You don’t have to be the Book Goddess to find this discouraging.  I know it’s not entirely true, as I generally spend my life among book lovers of all ages.  But it would appear that there is some truth in it.

Of course it seems unnatural to me.  I would be more likely to forget to eat than to forget to read.  And you will rarely find me putting off reading to clean the house. 

But if you’re a book lover, I hope you’ll also be a book advocate.  Go buy a book at your local bookstore – maybe as a gift for a young relative.  Have you visited your public library recently?  Bring a friend to your book club.  Ask people what they’re reading.  Read a child a story.

A friend of mine used to say that the intelligent person is never bored.  I say that’s because the intelligent person always has something wonderful to read.

(This is a reprise of a post that appeared on my previous blog, no longer available online.  I would love to hear what you all have to say on this topic.)

All the best,

The Book Goddess

P.S.  Please let me know what you are reading….I just finished The Pure in Heart by Susan Hill – an extremely well-written and absorbing British mystery by an author that is new to me.


1. Christopher - January 30, 2008

While we now read less books, this may be offset by the amount of reading we do off the internet. And we are all writing more, courtesy of internet technology.

But how do we account for the success of online booksellers like Amazon.com?

Perhaps it might be truer to say that we read less novels, but more how-to books,and magazines, as well as stuff off the internet.

Ray Bradbury’s then-futuristic novel, “Fahrenheit 451”, depicted a world where book-reading was made illegal. Thankfully we’re not there yet.

But reading, particularly of literature, is inherently subversive of an established order anywhere. That alone, makes reading literature worthwhile.

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