Friday, January 11, 2008

Books I read

I spend a considerable amount of my free time reading. I also read while doing other things like waiting in lines and while eating frequently. I probably spend too much time reading, at least that is what most of the people I know say. When I made a list of the movies I read in 2007, I also made a very incomplete list of the books I had read. The books I read list is far more incomplete than the other list is. It does not include any of the nonfiction books I read, fan fiction, magazines, many of the manga I read in computer format, did not list most of the graphic novels, and I couldn't remember if some of the books were read this year or the year before. I'm not really happy with the books I read last year.

I consider much of what I read to be completely frivolous. I think I will attempt to read more nonfiction. In the past I had read less fiction and more serious books but last year I guess I just didn't feel like it. Not to say I hadn't read some non-fiction because I did. I read time magazine, national geographic, informative websites, and some history and science books but not as many as I would have liked. I find reading is a form of escapism. While I'm reading I don't think about my own problems and the problems of the world around me.

At least I read. According to a National Endowment for the Arts report most Americans are reading a lot less. According to the report the an increasing number of adult Americans don't even read one book a year. It saddens me that 72% of US high school graduates are considered deficient in reading. Personally I don't see how that is possible. With people the number of people on the Internet where most of the sites have lots of text and role playing video games which require a lot of reading. It is nearly unbelievable that such a large percentage of people have trouble reading.

The article also went on how test scores are dropping and that book sales have gone down across the board except for in teen books. The article mentioned that this is partly do to the Harry Potter books, adults purchasing teen books, and a relatively small group of people purchasing a large number of books (like me).

Part of the reason that it is so sad that people aren't reading is because people who read are statistically more active than those who don't. This may seem odd since many people consider reading a passive activity but people who read books are more likely to keep up with current events, visit museums, vote, and do volunteer work. I wonder why that is. The Internet and Television do have educational content and do have shows and sites devoted to culturally enhancing people. What it is it about books that promote those types of things that other mediums do not, or at least not as much? I can't figure it out.

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