Americans aren't reading anymore

Americans aren’t reading anymore

WASHINGTON (AP) One in four adults say they read no books at all in the past year, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll released Tuesday. Of those who did read, women and seniors were most avid, and religious works and popular fiction were the top choices.

People from the South read a bit more than those from other regions, mostly religious books and romance novels. Whites read more than blacks and Hispanics, and those who said they never attend religious services read nearly twice as many as those who attend frequently.

There was even some political variety evident, with Democrats and liberals typically reading slightly more books than Republicans and conservatives.

The Bible and religious works were read by two-thirds in the survey, more than all other categories. Popular fiction, histories, biographies and mysteries were all cited by about half, while one in five read romance novels. Every other genre — including politics, poetry and classical literature — were named by fewer than five percent of readers.

Those likeliest to read religious books included older and married women, lower earners, minorities, lesser educated people, Southerners, rural residents, Republicans and conservatives.

Kind of spells it out, doesn’t it? Democracy absolutely, positively cannot function without an educated electorate. We get the leaders we deserve. Nauseating.

Comments (6 comments)

Rasputin / August 21st, 2007, 7:49 pm / #1

Does listening to an audio book count as reading? When I first saw those numbers, I was as disgusted as you seem to be then I started thinking that I get most of my books in audio formats these days.

BlackSun / August 21st, 2007, 7:59 pm / #2

Audiobooks and podcasts count, although I don’t think they asked about them in the survey. Even if they listen to audiobooks, I still don’t think people are spending enough time with in-depth analyses of politics, science or other non-fiction. From the survey, it seems to be all fluff.

Rasputin / August 22nd, 2007, 1:44 am / #3

Hell, if podcasts count I’m in the top .0001%

But yeah, it’s thinking that matters and people seem so afraid of it sometimes.

Carrie / August 22nd, 2007, 5:22 am / #4

I’m ashamed to admit that I, a staunch atheist, would have been counted in both the “religion” and “popular fiction” part of the list there (though, in fairness, I wasn’t polled, so at least I didn’t skew the numbers). I read every single damned one of those godawful “Left Behind” books over the last year. Ever since moving to Kansas, I’ve started realizing how much power the fundies have, politically, and I’ve taken it upon myself to learn what I can about where they’re coming from. Those books were horrifying, but they explained a lot about the mindset of the “end-times” crowd.

On the brighter side, I also had the opportunity to read “Monkey Girl,” which is kind of like atheist porn.

BlackSun / August 22nd, 2007, 12:36 pm / #5


Oh, yes, the Dover story. Long live Judge John E. Jones III

Carrie / August 22nd, 2007, 1:44 pm / #6

Yeah, the Dover trial gave me warm fuzzies. I have been passing that book around to friends and family since I read it.

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