November Book of the Month

Welcome

  • Welcome to the Book and Reading Forums! If you are a member, please log in. Otherwise, please join now! It's quick, easy and free!

Why People Read Less And Less

Use this forum for book and reading discussion that doesn't fall into another category. Talk about books, genres, reading issues, general literature, and any other topic of particular interest to readers. If you want to start a thread about a specific book or a specific series, please do that in the section below this one.

Post Number:#31  Postby mohses » 05 Sep 2009, 02:57

Polls keep showing that more and more people in today's world read less and less. Some recent polls estimated that about 25% of United States families did not read a book in the last year. I have even seen some studies put the number as high as 80%.

internet porn and World Of Warcraft, would significantly inflate those figures , or at least contribute :lol:
mohses
 
Posts: 23
Joined: 05 May 2009, 02:08

Did you know?
 
Once you join the forums and log in you will get to enjoy a very ad-reduced experience. It's easy and completely free!

Post Number:#32  Postby tinyViolin » 06 Dec 2009, 07:57

Scott Hughes wrote:Why People Read Less And Less
by Scott Hughes

We do not value education and intellectuality much anymore. Instead, we value entertainment and athletics. Perhaps it is because technology and development have eliminated a great deal of our need for intelligence. Perhaps we feel secure that our needs have been met and feel that we no longer need to work as a society towards major goals. As a result, we just want to lay back and gossip about Paris Hilton and cheer for our favorite sports team.
What do you think?


Ok, I'm about to be Polly Party Pooper here, but this sentence immediately caught my eye. I believe that therein lies a great reason why people don't read so much--the assumption that readers are smarter and books are for intellectual value above entertainment. There are several "French" adjectives I can readily apply to that.

I was an English major; I read a lot. I've explored the impossible brain of Agamben, compared to whom Nietzsche is a puppy, and I've mulled over the real story behind Christopher Marlowe's death. I read the letters between Benjamin and Brecht. I read Umberto Eco for fun. Imagine.

In my studies, I also learned that English majors can be real a-holes. Among them, be they fat short tall or hairy, there is the widespread misconception that because they read, they are smart. This is not true. People who don't read novels and are smart obviously realize this, but they are too smart to care. They are busy learning Chinese or untangling the political machinations of the leader of Botswana.

I know the comment was innocently made, which, indeed, is what provoked my rant. It's an idea so, so ingrained that we just accept readers to be deeper thinkers, no matter what they read. It's a kind of "book worship" that, to me, is as silly as not reading at all because you think it's boring.

And guys, let's be honest, novels are stories, and most of the language used is about as challenging as watching a rerun of CSI.

In fact, I see how this idea of "books lead to self-improvement" actually leads to people reading less. I'd be irritated with my smug bookworm room-mate, too if I didn't read for fun. If reading Khalil Gibran's "The Prophet" gives you a superiority complex, heck, I'm watching Buffy.

~~~~~~~

On a second note, I don't think technology has eliminated our need for intelligence. A cursory look back in time would show you that the vast, vast majority of people spent their lives being illiterate and mocking those who frittered away their eyesight learning stuff that didn't matter.

If the satorical pieces of the 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries are any indication, the majority of people who could read (a.k.a the wealthy) were silly and sometimes scarily inbred. There were a few "writer circles" that discussed literature and challenged each other, but they had independent wealth and no distractions.

I'm curious about the time when we were utilising our intelligence more than we are now. I mean as a mass population, not the few who made single, but startling, headways in science or published a lone masterpiece in their lifetime. Most people, I think, were ogling the local village girl (Paris Hilton) or placing bets on cockfights.

~~~~~
Sorry in advance if I've harshed too much! :) And, um, I like books.
User avatar
tinyViolin
 
Posts: 53
Joined: 19 Oct 2009, 07:47

Post Number:#33  Postby m629 » 06 Dec 2009, 17:38

My book 'reading' is now almost 100% listening to audiobooks. (I still don't understand why there is a market for abridged audiobooks)
m629
 
Posts: 2
Joined: 06 Dec 2009, 17:35

Re: Why People Read Less And Less

Post Number:#34  Postby aya » 19 Sep 2012, 11:58

People hate wasting time. But the time you use when you read a book is a investment for future.
User avatar
aya
 
Posts: 3
Joined: 19 Sep 2012, 11:37

Re: Why People Read Less And Less

Post Number:#35  Postby Evapohler » 19 Sep 2012, 12:58

I don't believe the poll. I don't believe people are reading less and less. Maybe people are reading different things than books.
Evapohler
 
Posts: 156
Joined: 04 May 2011, 12:37

Re: Why People Read Less And Less

Post Number:#36  Postby cmoudry » 09 Nov 2012, 10:08

People can't really use cost as an excuse not to read. With libraries there's no cost to worry about, plus, at least for Indiana, we have a system that allows us to get books from any other library in the state brought to our own, so we can essentially check out almost any book out there. As far as time consuming, it's a hobby. Hobbies take up a lot of time. I think people take up too many at a time. When you have to stand there and waste 15 min deciding on watching TV, jumping on the computer, playing a game, or reading...you've got too many things on your plate...
User avatar
cmoudry
 
Posts: 8
Joined: 09 Nov 2012, 09:31

Re:

Post Number:#37  Postby Phoenix98 » 10 Nov 2012, 21:34

Vdcnsrg wrote:I would have to say that the technology is responsible for the decrease in reading. TV, Internet, and all that stuff are a priority over reading for many people.


I had a very interesting exchange in conversation recently. Ya know how it is with movies and books: "I'm glad I read the book first," "The book's a lot better than the movie," "It was a great movie, but I don't care to read the book," etc.

A friend was very excitedly telling me all about the new computer game he'd been playing: it was so much fun, the graphics are great, you're always learning about one more weapon or strategy, and so on. When he slowed down a bit I told him that I had read the book. He looked as if he couldn't quite believe it.

I wonder what that says about the lack of reading in today's culture. :roll:
Token conservative
User avatar
Phoenix98
 
Posts: 384
Joined: 22 Sep 2012, 00:08

Re: Why People Read Less And Less

Post Number:#38  Postby cmoudry » 10 Nov 2012, 22:26

Remember the Myst series? It was a great point and click puzzle game. I discovered a couple years ago they made a book based on it. Too awesome. Technology may turn the literary industry into something completely different!
User avatar
cmoudry
 
Posts: 8
Joined: 09 Nov 2012, 09:31

Re: Why People Read Less And Less

Post Number:#39  Postby MelMariah » 10 Nov 2012, 23:14

I find it extremely difficult to find time to read. I do push through, but it now takes me weeks and weeks rather than days to finish a book.
Would be a large contributing factor
User avatar
MelMariah
 
Posts: 238
Joined: 02 Nov 2012, 21:44
Location: Australia, QLD

Re: Why People Read Less And Less

Post Number:#40  Postby DATo » 11 Nov 2012, 05:47

It is pretty hard to imagine today how people lived 100 years ago. Today we have dozens of distractions to fill our time, but back then, for one thing, they did not have a lot of excess available time, and secondly, they did not have as great a plethora of options to fill what excess time WAS available. A hundred years ago people actually WORKED for a living and they would be shocked by how little we have to do today to make a good, or even reasonable paycheck and they would be stunned by the outrageously better quality of life of the average family today compared to the standards of living in their day. Back then if you didn't work you didn't eat. There were no government programs to help you and your family. Life was literally an existential experience in the art of survival. People spent more time conducting what I would call "the BUSINESS of living and providing for their families" and did not have a lot of time for personal entertainment.

Think of how easy it is today to watch movies, or T.V., or to listen to music. I am a mouse click or two away from listening to my favorite song performed by my favorite singer on You Tube. Now think about this .... back then they had NO means to listen to recorded music or videos. There were, to be sure, gramophones but they were expensive luxuries that not many families could afford. People would go to concerts in the park, and for many this was the only real music they ever heard other than choral presentations by their local churches. So reading was far more important to people of this era (and before) because it was a way to find entertaining escape at little or no cost. Libraries must have been very busy places back in those days.

Today, our many distractions compete with reading, and it is of little surprise to me that younger people are not into reading when there are so many other ways to spend their time having fun with electronic diversions. Perhaps this is the new paradigm. I personally think that something precious is being lost in this transaction but people a hundred years ago might have thought something precious was lost when concerts in the park went out of vogue too, and maybe it has. Only time will tell if our newly evolving entertainment values prove to be improvements or detriments to our culture. Personally I think it is detrimental because it seems scholastic scores have been going down in equal proportion to the advances in the numbers of young people becoming involved in video gaming and other electronic diversion.
“I just got out of the hospital. I was in a speed reading accident. I hit a book mark and flew across the room.”
― Steven Wright
User avatar
DATo
 
Posts: 953
Joined: 31 Dec 2011, 07:54

Re: Why People Read Less And Less

Post Number:#41  Postby StephenKingman » 11 Nov 2012, 06:06

^ Good points Dato, but a crucial reason why people read less and less is they simply dont have the interest and interest in reading peaks and troughs all the time. Certainly for me this year, I havent read half as many books as last year and thats because I have gained one or two more hobbies that were more appealing to me than reading; indeed, even if i had a few hours free I probably woulnt read a book as my interest has waned. Im reading a horror book called Secret of Crickley Hall at the moment and if i have it done by Xmas ill be lucky!

Different people have differing degrees of interest in hobbies, Im not someone who could read books every week of the year without fail, I would get bored. Having said that, I could be back in the driving seat next year reading all around me, it just depends on the person. You are right that technology can be a distraction but ironically Kindle users have fast access to books now that they never had before so if you ARE a book addict there has never been a better time to be a reader. :D
You only live once.....so live!
User avatar
StephenKingman
Moderator
 
Posts: 13884
Joined: 29 Dec 2009, 12:00
Location: Ireland

Re: Why People Read Less And Less

Post Number:#42  Postby DATo » 11 Nov 2012, 06:31

StephenKingman wrote:^ Good points Dato, but a crucial reason why people read less and less is they simply dont have the interest and interest in reading peaks and troughs all the time. Certainly for me this year, I havent read half as many books as last year and thats because I have gained one or two more hobbies that were more appealing to me than reading; indeed, even if i had a few hours free I probably woulnt read a book as my interest has waned. Im reading a horror book called Secret of Crickley Hall at the moment and if i have it done by Xmas ill be lucky!

Different people have differing degrees of interest in hobbies, Im not someone who could read books every week of the year without fail, I would get bored. Having said that, I could be back in the driving seat next year reading all around me, it just depends on the person. You are right that technology can be a distraction but ironically Kindle users have fast access to books now that they never had before so if you ARE a book addict there has never been a better time to be a reader. :D


I quite agree with you SK. I have trouble finding enough time to get through a book too sometimes. My interest in reading has not flagged but I find it harder to appropriate the time other than before going to sleep or very early in the morning. I too have other interests which are currently dominating most of my free time. I am like you with regard to guitar playing. Sometimes I don't look at the thing for months and then at other times it is in my hands six times a day. I suppose we all go through phases.

Now Fran is an entirely different animal. She must be a speed reader because I am amazed at the number of books she can get through so quickly. I don't think I could keep up with her if my very life depended upon it *LOL*. And she always seems to find incredibly good books to read too. Well .... the term "incredibly good" is relative and you might not share my opinion but that's cool ... it would be a very dull world if we all liked and disliked the same things.
“I just got out of the hospital. I was in a speed reading accident. I hit a book mark and flew across the room.”
― Steven Wright
User avatar
DATo
 
Posts: 953
Joined: 31 Dec 2011, 07:54

Re: Why People Read Less And Less

Post Number:#43  Postby StephenKingman » 11 Nov 2012, 06:48

^ Well exactly, you liked 84 Charing Cross Road so that automatically makes you a very strange beast :lol:

I know what you mean, we have different tastes in reading and genres but thats what makes this place so great, the variety, in fact there should be a few more debates here as too many people get on! Last year, I read the 700+ Stephen King book 11.22.63 in 4 and a half days! And then it took me 3 months to finish the 300 page book On The Road this year so your bias definitely makes a difference when reading. For me if its a King book I will find the time no bother to complete and review it as fast as possible as I love his books whereas a new book is a risk and you might take your time reading it.

I know what you mean about Fran, good God I could never read as many books as she does, she reads 24/7, 365 days a year. I would have reached burn out long ago but bless her and her bionic eye if thats what she likes. You know shes only down the road from me and she has never once shared a drink with me, too busy perched in her latest novel, such a rude woman. :wink:
You only live once.....so live!
User avatar
StephenKingman
Moderator
 
Posts: 13884
Joined: 29 Dec 2009, 12:00
Location: Ireland

Re: Why People Read Less And Less

Post Number:#44  Postby Fran » 11 Nov 2012, 08:38

Sunday morning over breakfast I read a couple of chapters of my current book, listen to the updated results of our referendum, get myself wrapped up warm, go for a lovely long walk in the countryside, meet an elderly neighbour & discuss the ways of the world with him for a while. Two hours later I'm back home, scarves unwrapped & gloves ungloved, I log into the forums to see what my virtual friends are chatting about and lo and behold I find two men have been speculating about me all morning .... well knock me down with a feather! :shock:
Unfortunately I can't read 24/7 but I do read everyday, how much depends on the book and what is going on around me. If the book is good I will make the time no matter what else is happening ... all a question of priorities!
@Mike, I will get to the sunny South East & we will have that drink ... I very much want to get to that bookshop in Waterford you eulogise so wonderfully.
@DATo, as to my selections - I've picked plently of duds in my time too and you are doing a pretty good job providing excellent & rewarding recommendations.
Now boys back to your books :lol: :lol: :lol:
"The trouble is, you think you have time." Buddha
User avatar
Fran
Moderator
 
Posts: 23261
Joined: 10 Aug 2009, 12:46
Location: Ireland
Favorite Author: David Mitchell
Favorite Book: Anna Karenina

Re: Why People Read Less And Less

Post Number:#45  Postby StephenKingman » 11 Nov 2012, 09:03

Fran wrote:Sunday morning over breakfast I read a couple of chapters of my current book, listen to the updated results of our referendum, get myself wrapped up warm, go for a lovely long walk in the countryside, meet an elderly neighbour & discuss the ways of the world with him for a while. Two hours later I'm back home, scarves unwrapped & gloves ungloved, I log into the forums to see what my virtual friends are chatting about and lo and behold I find two men have been speculating about me all morning .... well knock me down with a feather! :shock:
Unfortunately I can't read 24/7 but I do read everyday, how much depends on the book and what is going on around me. If the book is good I will make the time no matter what else is happening ... all a question of priorities!
@Mike, I will get to the sunny South East & we will have that drink ... I very much want to get to that bookshop in Waterford you eulogise so wonderfully.
@DATo, as to my selections - I've picked plently of duds in my time too and you are doing a pretty good job providing excellent & rewarding recommendations.
Now boys back to your books :lol: :lol: :lol:


No thanks Fran we would rather chat about you :lol:

The Book Centre is a fine place to spend a few hours and if you are ever down here check out the Waterford Crystal showrooms and Reginald Tower, well worth it and I will bring you to Kazbar the best pub in town and steer you away from the dodgy spots. Now Dato what were you saying about Fran, she claims not to love the attention :wink:
You only live once.....so live!
User avatar
StephenKingman
Moderator
 
Posts: 13884
Joined: 29 Dec 2009, 12:00
Location: Ireland

PreviousNext

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests

Navigation

Return Home » Books and Reading » General Book & Reading Discussion