July 12, 2004
Literature in decline

I'm sure the same thing is happening here. And how could I possibly complain? Literature is conspicuous here by its absence.

The populace of the United States may be divided by race, age, gender, region, income, and educational level. But according to a report released on Thursday by the National Endowment for the Arts, there is at least one thing that brings us all together: No group reads as much literature as it once did. If present trends continue, our aliteracy will only deepen over the next generation. After all, the steepest decline in reading has occurred among young adults, ages 18 to 24.

I don't think this is scandalous. I just think it's life. The question is not: why is this happening? The question is: how come it took so long? I mean, if you spend an entire century perfecting how to tell stories in the cinema, and then in the living room with domestic cinema machines, why would you expect everyone to carry on reading literature as if nothing had happened?

To me the surprise is how many, many people do still love to read.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 11:52 PM
Category: Literature