According to NPR's assessment of the Pew Research Center's report, yes. No questions about it. No elaboration. No raised eyebrows. No jokes. No attempt at either satire or irony. Not even any disbelief. This report is completely serious.
Reading one book in a year now qualifies you as a reader?
Considering how many other
ways people read, it seems fair enough. And, besides, "one book" is pretty clearly a bare minimum, and I find it hard to believe that the repeated library use reported, etc etc etc, can be attributable to one book
a person a year. Perhaps I'm wrong, though.
FWIW, Digging around Statistica
, it seems like, on average, most people (20%) read 3-5 books in the past three years; 19% read 1-2; so it's been pretty stable for the past three years, at any rate. And I would honestly be surprised to see a wide variation over a larger span. This graph
would seem to bear the assertion out. Between 1978 and 2011, the lion's share of USians have read between 1-5 books a year (indeed, as of 2011 it sat at 32%, about the same number it was in 1990). All the other numbers have remained similarly consistent. The sub-heading notes that "in broad strokes" fewer people are "reading"--presumably implying that only book-reading is "real" reading, but the general picture remains the same. And I honestly wouldn't expect much difference if you extended the surveys backward in time. Indeed, I wouldn't be surprised if you discovered that book-reading--indeed, literacy
--drops dramatically in the pre-War years, particularly in the South. That's a guess on my part, though.
(I hope those links work; if not, I'll try to find a work-around).
Of course, this says nothing of so-called "literary" reading; I suspect most of the FB generation read The Hunger Games
, not Joyce.
Edited by NBooth, 23 October 2012 - 04:44 PM.