Literary 'crisis' a matter of quality, not quantity

The real literacy crisis has less to do with the number of people reading than with the narrowing range of books that Americans actually read. According to the report, all of ``one in six people reads 12 or more books in a year.'' Half the population never looks at any fiction, poetry or plays. This is, obviously, just pathetic. And what the NEA report fails to say is that most of those people have chosen the very same 12 books, starting with ``The Da Vinci Code,'' followed by a) the latest movie tie-in, and b) whatever Oprah Winfrey has recommended lately.


Read this interesting opinion at The Register-Guard.

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Oprah

And what the NEA report fails to say is that most of those people have chosen the very same 12 books, starting with ``The Da Vinci Code,'' followed by a) the latest movie tie-in, and b) whatever Oprah Winfrey has recommended lately.
Oprah is currently doing the classics so this may not be a good criticism at this point. The current book is Anna Karenina by Tolstoy and before that was East of Eden by Steinbeck.

Half the population never looks at any fiction, poetry or plays. This is, obviously, just pathetic.
I know people that do not read fiction at all. I have one friend who says life is to short to read fiction. He only reads nonfiction books. Can someone really be faulted for that? Is reading fiction, a play, or poetry that much better than just watching television?

Appeal to readers

It's great to see that some people are still reading, whether it's fiction or non-fiction, newspapers or journals. I think the library has an important role to play in providing the selection of reading material that are appealing to readers and also being careful in deselection that may deny someone the opportunity to read that deselected item.

Re:Oprah

I agree with you on Oprah. If people discover Heart is a Loneley Hunter through Oprah, more power to her.But life is too short to read fiction?Good god, child!"I don't read literature, I only read non-fiction" is pretty close to "I don't look at paintings, I only look at street maps."You can't be faulted for looking at streetmaps, but giving up art (including literature) because "life is too short" is backwards thinking!And yes, there is a lot of literature that is a whole heck of a lot better than just about anything on TV.

intellectual snobbery

The commentator is obviously an intellectual snob. The "trash" of yesterday is often the classic of today. Look at the Lord of the Rings.

Re:intellectual snobbery

I totally agree - he's an old school elitist librarian who probably wonders what happened to the 'Great American Novel'.

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