Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The sieve and the sand

Internets, I wish this were surprising: The AP reports today that one in four Americans read NO books last year. One in four. Jesus paté on a cracked-pepper water cracker.

And of course, of the people who did read something in printed, bound form, a shitload read “books” like romance novels and religious horseshit, My Pet Goat, Oprah selections and Chicken Soup for the Neurotic Simpleton’s Soul and what have you. (I wish I could be a big enough person to not judge but — well, you know me, Internets. I judge, o yes I judge. ) Small side note: I was pleased to find that my fellow Dems read more than their political opposites — but, again, unsurprised.

And but so here’s the thing: What do all these non-readers DO with their time? I say this as a person who works full time, watches waaaaaaaay more TV than even the national average, works out 4X/week, cooks a real dinner every night, plays bass, cleans the house, hangs out with her husband, talks to the fam every week on the phone, surfs the internet all the goddamn time — and I have read probably 30 books this year so far (in addition to my other reading, e.g. the New Yorker and the Sunday New York Times every week, plus BUST every other month and Harper’s monthly). Granted, once Kid Gleemonex arrives, I’ll have to cut back somewhere, but I’m voting housework and the lower-tier TiVo selections, not reading; I just don’t understand this non-reading stuff. I am never without a book; I am never not reading something, or several somethings at once. I wouldn’t know how to function otherwise.

HOW CAN A PERSON GO AN ENTIRE YEAR WITHOUT READING A SINGLE BOOK?

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9 Comments:

Blogger bgirl said...

seriously? you don't know how the other half lives? there's plenty to keep the book-haters busy...nascar comes to mind. also, levar is a scary, scary man.

3:14 PM  
Anonymous Jenn in Sacramento said...

My goddaughter actually bragged on her myspace page that she has never read a whole book. Broke my heart. When Tower Books went out of business in Sacramento I bought over 130 books - $1 - $2 each! How could a book lover pass that up. Perfect date night to me is going to Borders or Barnes and Noble. If only I lived in Portland and could go to Powell's.

4:36 PM  
Blogger Panda!!!! said...

"Butterfly in the skyyyyy... I could go twice as hiiiiiiggghh..."

I used to be an avid book-reader, but lately my magazine subscriptions have gotten out of hand (10 that arrive in my mailbox regularly) and I'm kind of waiting for most of the subscriptions to lapse. But until then, I do read all my mags (and they're not US Weekly or People rags). I think my pathetic book count for 2007 is three.

4:43 PM  
Blogger srah said...

I went on a date with a guy who said he hadn't recreationally read a book since high school (this was in grad school). It was a shame because I liked him a lot up until that point, but it was like a glass of cold water in the face. Thanks, this is over now. Check please!

5:37 PM  
Blogger Lisa Ann said...

Hell, I read a book a week. I couldn't imagine a world without reading.

12:32 PM  
Blogger Twelve said...

Kids I interview for The Frim who can't tell me the name of a non-law book they've read within the last year get FORM LETTERed! I just don't get them.

Picturing Richard Bustos of Dallas, a 34-year old project manager for a telecommunications company sitting in his pool, refusing to read, made me laugh.

1:07 PM  
Blogger Jory Dayne said...

I guess after reading the article the thing that frightens me the most is that people don't seem to exhibit any kind of shame at admitting this kind of thing. I mean, really consider Richard Bustos for a minute. "I would just rather spend time in my backyard pool, and you can quote me on that. That's Bustos, B-U-S-T-O-S."

Why would you want that information in print!? Holy hell your great great grandkids are gonna Google you're ass years from now and realize you were a total tool.

I've been compiling a list of all the books I have ever read, and I am averaging 21 books a year since birth... if you factor in the age I began reading it actually works out to be more like 31 and quarter books a year for the last 16 years. And I never really thought that I'm a special case. All of my friends read like that. I don't think I have any friends who aren't in the middle of a book at this moment. Or ever, really.

I guess BGirl is right, I had NO IDEA how the other half was living.

8:47 AM  
Blogger Jory Dayne said...

Man, I just keep thinking about this.

You know when douchey movie campaigns are like, "If you only see one movie this year..." Maybe this should be redirected to other markets.

"If you only read one this book this year, or in your life time, for that matter, make it this one! It may just be your life story!"

8:54 AM  
Blogger Gleemonex said...

I know, right? I'm all for hanging out by the pool, but WITH A BOOK!! GOD!

Reminds me of when Elaine and Puddy were coming back from Europe, and Puddy's just sitting there, staring straight ahead -- she was so agitated by him not doing anything (sleeping, eating, reading, whatever, just ANYTHING but sitting and staring) that she broke up with him (again).

12:45 PM  

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