Saturday, January 17, 2009

It's True, Fiction Is on the Rise!

Now this is good news! The National Endowment for the Arts is reporting that fiction is becoming increasingly popular.

After twenty-five years — a generation — the downward trend toward reading fiction has reversed. But this report asks people whether they've read at least one novel, short story, poem or play in the past twelve months. One. Uno. I believe most people have at least one imaginative thought per day. Can't more than half of America read more than one piece of literature during a year?

I'll take the good news and happily praise Americans for getting back on their duffs as long as they're reading literature — even bad poetry is better than nothing at all.

But I look forward to the day when at least 15 percent of Americans say they read at least one piece of literature per month. I haven't drilled down into the report to see how far off from that mark we are, but I don't expect it's anywhere near that.

So read up, America! Fiction, nonfiction, newspapers, poetry. Order a subscription to One Story or visit your local library. Imagine gas is still close to $5 a gallon and take the train, where you can read during your commute.

And while you're at it, imagine. Imagine a world without literature. It's a dark, dismal place. People are despondent, hopeless, angry. It's worse than what you see today, because half of America reads literature. But if everyone read just a little bit, I suspect the world would become a bit brighter, a bit more hopeful. Perhaps it might even spur the imagination and inspire ways to turn the economy around. Just imagine!

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