30 August 2007

Statistics

There was a widely bruited-about statistic reported last week, stating that 1 in 4 Americans did not read a single book last year. Clearly, we don’t fall into that category, but . . . how many of our friends do? Do you have friends/family who read as much as you do? Or are you the only person you know who has a serious reading habit?

I've been thinking about this question all day today. Most of my very good friends (yeah, like I have so many ...) are readers, maybe not the same kinds of things, but they do read on a pretty regular basis. I can think of one or two who don't read much at all, but to be honest, they don't seem to pay attention to much of anything ...

My sisters were never as into reading as I was. As far as I know, they are now pretty regular readers, though I have no real idea how many books they may read in a year. I do remember that when my middle sister was in high school, and had to read for a literature class, that she would set the timer each evening for one hour. As soon as it rang, she stopped reading - even if there was just another page left in the chapter! This used to really amaze/dismay my parents. Now she reads things she wants to read, so I'm pretty sure the timer gets used for other things ...

A lot of the people I know who don't read much were actually turned off completely by it in high school or college, it seems. I will admit that if I hadn't been an obsessive reader when I encountered Paradise Lost, by John Milton, in high school, I may never have voluntarily picked up another book. (I got in a lot of trouble in class, when the teacher asked me what I thought about it, and I said it made me think that Milton deserved to go blind for writing something that boring and annoying. [I'll pause here while many of you gasp in horror.])

My late mother-in-law had a friend for a few years, Dick (or, as I used to refer to him, The World's Most Appropriately Named Man), who always used to be amazed that she liked to read. He would always brag that he "hadn't read a book since he finished high school." It showed.

I know a lot of people who say they read at work all day, so they are not interested in reading for leisure. I just figure they weren't big readers in the first place.

11 comments:

Linda said...

Books were my best friends growing up. I wasn't allowed to read during meals, so I read cereal boxes, milk cartons...you get the picture. I still read, but not as much due to poor eyesight. My father and both of my children read. My siblings not so much. One of the nicest compliments I've received was given by one of my brothers who told me I inspired his love of books. I have few friends, but they are also readers.

For me, books have alway provided an escape from my reality and an opportunity to see the world though other eyes. I can't imagine NOT reading.

BTW, thanks for the dishcloth comment. I've been crocheting since I was a child and think it is significantly easier than knitting.

Merri said...

Like Linda said, I can't imagine NOT reading...
I grew up in family of readers but my husband does not read, mainly because he was not in school in NA while in his formative years. He struggles with reading , and it is fantastic that he has been so successful in his life in spite of the hurdles he endured.
(LOL I read milk cartons and cereal boxes for the same reason during meals...)

KSD said...

They aren't reading at work. They're scanning, but pretending to read, so it will seem they're busy.

Callista said...

Life would be so boring without reading! My answer is here: http://smsbookreviews.blogspot.com/2007/08/booking-through-thursday-statistics.html

Oh and we celebrate Labour Day in Canada too!

BookGal said...

The fun part of reading is that you don't have to like, or even finish, everything. There's so many options. BTW, I struggled through Milton in college.

mary said...

Almost as bad as not reading are those who only read the sports page.

Brigitte said...

Oh, I can't imagine people not reading... I know of a few people as well who admit to not reading anything in years, and I feel sorry for them.

Liz K. said...

Scary suburban mom moment of the day:

I was at an end-of-school-year celebration at the playground for my son's preschool class. The moms were on a blanket, eating the last of their lunches, and I asked if anyone had any recommendations for good books.

I was met with total, utter silence. The chat soon resumed to vacuums and bedtimes.

Sigh.

mamaquilts said...

I love reading books and almonst anything else. As one of my library science professors noted those in the library profession will read literally anything including signs on the wall whether or not they are of interest.

My husband doesn't read books, but he reads anything and everything online including legal stuff and in magazines.

And now my kids think it is great to just sit with books to read, even J at 4.

Maureen said...

I love reading, I just wish the darn books wouldn't clunk me on the nose when I fall asleep in the process. Must be age (and life of late), I just can't seem to stay awake beyond a page or two. Hey, maybe I should start reading earlier in the day.

(love your remark about The World's Most Appropriately Named Man

The Knitting Blog by Mr Puffy the Dog said...

I worry about the youngsters today who seem to want flash and action non-stop and have no time to sit and read. Reading develops comprehension and without that it's hard to achieve in any field of study. Since I don't have children myself, maybe I see a problem that isn't really there. To escape into a good book is one of life's little pleasures.