Doing My Bit

There was an article on CNN’s web site the other day about the staggering number of Americans who aren’t reading books. These aren’t people who can’t read but people who choose not to read.

According to the study conducted by the National Endowment for the Arts, in 2002 89.9 million adults in the United States did not read a book. Not one book. How can people not be reading?

Every time I visit the bookstores in my part of town they have a nice size crowd and the library seems to have quite a following too. Are the people at the bookstores just there for the coffee drinks in the snazzy cafes? And, what about the library patrons, are they just there for the free Internet access?

I have no idea if the lack of interest in books is really all because of the Internet, movies and television. What is unfathomable to me is that people can’t see the pleasure there is in picking up a book to read. I cannot go a day without reading at least a chapter, much less a whole year without reading a book.

Should we send all these people to a remote island and force classics, bestsellers and fiction in every genre upon them? Have these people never picked up a good book and gotten hooked by the idea that there are more good books out there?

I had to go to the bookstore tonight and to my delight I saw lots people reading books while having their coffee drinks. Maybe between us we can skew the numbers reported in the study. I know I’m doing my part tonight by finishing my fiftieth book read this year.