Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Ok, America. Open Your Books to Page 1

Here's a summer horror story that's sure to curdle the blood of any book vampire. According to the Associated Press, the median number of books read by Americans in a year is four. And 25 percent of Americans didn't read a single book in the past year. As someone who averages four or five books a month, I find this kind of scary.

I'm lucky; I don't have to drive to work anymore. Before I started commuting on the train two years ago, I probably read ten to twelve books a year. While my commute is significantly longer each day than it was when I still worked in New Jersey, I'm sitting on a train for nearly all of my commute; drive time is never more than 10-15 minutes -- usually less than that.

Enough about me. The people who don't read tend to be less educated than the readers. That makes sense, of course. Those with strong high school and college training generally have learned the value of reading, and books are an important part of one's education. I thought it was interesting that Democrats and liberals tend to read slightly more than Republicans, because it makes no sense. There is no reason why a political affiliation should make any difference by itself.

But while some people don't read at all, others are more voracious readers than I am. One of the women interviewed for the story said she read seventy books a year, which is about 1.4 books per week. Yet, she also said she sometimes gets the stories mixed up.

As someone who occasionally has three books going simultaneously (train reading, bed reading, bathroom reading), I can understand how important it is to keep the type of book varied. Fiction, nonfiction, plays, poetry, science. Keep a steady diet of intelligent discourse for your brain. Mix in a little romance or fantasy or just plain crappy literature every once in a while for dessert. But whatever you do, America, read more!

I want you all ready for when my novels come out :-)


Nancy Park said...

It's amazing that no comments have been posted to your blog! You're right, of course, that we readers are few and far between, but I accidentally stumbled across your blog when I initiated a search for art of people reading.

I read one to two books a week, depending on their complexity and length. My husband reads two to three, sometimes four books a week, but he's a speed reader.

I was initially enchanted by the illustration on your blog. What a lovely watercolor. I would like to use it on the cover of my June newsletter (a local Mensa newsletter), which is my annual book review issue. If it is copyrighted to you or someone else, can you let me know how to get the appropriate permissions?

I usually use art in the public domain, but I instantly bonded with this reader.

I'm looking forward to your novels, whenever you get them written...


Matt Sinclair said...

Thank you so much, Nancy, for your thoughtful comment and kind words. I wish I could say I had the talent to paint like that, but I have "borrowed" it from the Web. I realize this is not altogether proper, and I would certainly take any down if the rightful owner asked/demanded that I do so. I'll reach out to you through your blog; I hope we can communicate via email so we don't post everything to the world. But as you noted, I don't get too many visitors.

Like you, the ones I get tend to arrive here through the images I select, so their is reason behind my immoral methods.