A new poll from the Associated Press-Ipsos reveals that America isn’t reading. One in four adults didn’t read a book last year. One in four. I find that amazing as well as depressing. For those who did read - women and older people - it was mostly bestselling fiction, mainly romance in the southern regions, and religious material. Why aren’t we reading more?
I know a lot of people who don’t read at all. When I talk about what I’ve just finished reading or what I’m about to start reading I get blank stares. I’m looked at as if I’ve got giant lobsters crawling out of my ears and at any moment they might attack. Is it really that strange to be a bookworm in American culture?
The excuse I hear the most is "I don’t have time." For some people I believe this is true. My parents are both avid readers but between full time jobs, everyday living, and a brand new baby in the house, life is full. It’s a choice between a cat nap or a book. But at the end of the day it is just that, a choice to do something other than read.
I also hear "I don’t like to read." This answer just boggles my mind. You don’t like to read? How could anyone not enjoy a good book? People are constantly talking about how they need a break from work and the hassle of everyday living. They need a vacation. A good book is just that — an escape, a vacation, an adventure.
Open a book and the world opens, expands, and engulfs you. You go places and meet people you might otherwise never get a chance to come into contact with. Any genre can do this for you. I love travel essays for that very reason. I doubt I will ever see the Antarctic with my own eyes but I can read about it and experience it through someone else’s. Then you have the biographies that lay before you lives that have been lived to the fullest extent, for good or for bad, and you get a slice of time that belongs to no one else. Histories that as you turn pages jump to life. Books on science and political issues that expand your limited world view; all of that in just non-fiction.