Monday, August 27, 2007

Literary Counting

An AP-Ipsos poll about reading habits has spawned an assortment of news stories. In one angle, among those who read books last year, seven was the average number of books read. But 25 percent of adults surveyed said they didn't read any books last year. (It's not clear if the poll waslimited to literate adults or not--an important factor since we onlyhave a 70 to 75 percent literacy rate to begin with.)

The Guardian notes, "of those who did read, women and retirees were the most avid readers, and religious works and popular fiction were the top choices. The median figure for books read - with half reading more, half fewer - was nine books for women and five for men.... People from the West and Midwest are more likely to have read at least one book in the past year. Southerners who do read, however, tend to read more books -mostly religious books and romance novels - than people from other regions."One in five people read romance novels, and women read more of every category of book than men except for history and biography.

The survey also found that fewer liberals and moderates are non-readers (22percent) than conservatives (34 percent). Which led AAP president PatSchroeder to shoot her mouth off in rather unfortunate fashion: "TheKarl Roves of the world have built a generation that just wants a couple slogans: 'No, don't raise my taxes, no new taxes,'" Schroeder is quoted."It's pretty hard to write a book saying, 'No new taxes, no new taxes, no new taxes' on every page."Actually, though, the survey found moderates read the least (liberals average nine books, conservatives eight, moderates five). Which may say something about the books available as much as the political inclinations. Threshold founder Mary Matalin remarked, "As head of abook publishing association, she probably shouldn't malign any readers.


Jennifer said...

I'm not surprised to hear that we Southerners tend to read more romance novels. The used book stores around here are packed to the gills with Harlequin Romance and misc. bodice rippers. One local bookstore won't even except anymore romance novels as a donation because they can't move them. Thanks for leaving a message in my blog (I had some Gerard Butler pics up!) You know that I'll HAVE to pick up one of your books now, right?? :)

Don Cummings said...

I read two to three hours almost every single day. Of course, I write a lot, too. I cannot imagine not reading. I certainly cannot imagine reading a pop-romance-religious thing, either.
What a world.

Joe said...

I can't say that I'm surprised by these numbers. I have many, many students who have never read an entire book. They often tell me that the novel or work of non-fiction that I assign is the first book they've ever had to read. And these are college students, literate adults. It seems that unless they develop this habit early in life, they just don't feel compelled to develop it at all.