Adults Reading More Fiction

For the first time since 1982, "the proportion of adults 18 and older who said they had read at least one novel, short story, poem or play in the previous 12 months has risen [to 50.2%]," according to a National Endowment for the Arts study being released today, reported by the New York Times.

The increase was most notable among 18-24 year olds and involved novels and short stories more than poetry or drama. Literary reading also increased among Hispanic Americans.

For the first time, the study included Internet reading, which some thought might have helped boost rates, although the AAP's Pat Schroeder suggested that some people don't count reading online or on e-readers as "book" reading.

Other possible explanations for the jump: one community, one read programs; the popularity of the Harry Potter and Twilight series; and "individual efforts of teachers, librarians, parents and civic leaders" to promote literature and reading. Booksellers, too, we'd think.

The study is called "Reading on the Rise: A New Chapter in American Literacy" and is based on data from the Census Bureau compiled last year.


Much as I'd love to celebrate a positive NEA report on reading, another explanation is that they didn't cook the books this time. Since their "sky is falling" reports on reading (or, more specifically, on what the deem to be literature) fall apart so readily on investigation, I'm reluctant to take a positive report on face value: To do so would be hypocritical.

Yes, definitely our fiction circulation has increased in the past year...however, so too has our Comic Book section! Yeah, yeah, you call it "Manga", I still call it comic books.

I read fiction because it stimulates my imagination...however, comic books do's all out there for you like a children's picture book, except in black & white and with more violence!

So...go figure... But to quote the Big Popular Quote: "At Least they are reading".

Mi Takuye Oyacin

And you know comic books don't stimulate the imagination because . . .you've read every single one of them? If so, very impressive. Are you also an enemy to that new-fangled thing called motion pictures? I hear tell they have visuals too. Obviously, the book of The Godfather must be better than the movie because you have to picture Michael's face yourself!

I do agree that comic books are a different medium than text-only books, so if you want to track their statistics separately, fine by me. Comics should be appreciated for themselves, not tolerated as "reading lite". The proportion of lousy comics is similar to the proportion of lousy books or movies.


PS. I call them manga if they're from Japan, and comic books if they're not. Some non-Japanese artists call their work manga, but that's just silly.

Wow, aren't you so much better than manga/graphic novel fans! Although, you can't be stimulating your imagination that much if you are reading fiction. Why not challenge yourself with poetry? Fiction just spoon-feeds you with complete sentences and punctuation. Poetry is where it's at.

Me Talkee Outofass

Comic books represent the myths of our culture. The only difference between Homer's "wine-dark seas" and Stan Lee's "with great power comes great responsibility" is time and pedigree.

Is Nora Roberts' "The Blouse Rippeth" more intellectual than the Watchmen because the former lacks pictures?


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