This started as a comment to a post Joanna made in her blog about books, and how reading is on a national decline. I, too, am a bookworm – always have been. I love to read, and it makes me sad to hear that less than have of U.S. adults read for pleasure.
I think a factor they don’t mention about the lack of reading is busyness. I’ve noticed that we in the United States value busyness. If you want to get ahead in your job, then you have to be willing to put in overtime work. We honor those people who put their job first, never sleeping until they finish. We have turned into a culture where we’re not sure how to relax. We go on vacation to a place that can promise to keep you occupied 24/7 (Orlando is a good example of that). With the emergence of cell phones, laptops, and wireless internet we’ve even made it so you don’t really have to leave your job at all!
We encourage and reward busyness beginning from high school. Many high schools offer all sorts of specialize programs and if you get involved in them, you will be more ready for college and your chosen career. In college, we honor those who spend all their time studying or working hard or being involved in lots of activities. If you haven’t in high school, then by college you’re definitely too busy to read. And with so much reading for class, picking up a book for fun has lost some of its appeal.
I’ve gotten on a soapbox, I know. (Just like Joanna. :-)) I just think that we’re caught up in busyness (myself included) too much. We don’t know how to relax anymore. The instant gratification of movies and TV (and the mindlessness) has driven us away from books where we have to *gasp* use our imagination. (That’s another soapbox for another day.)
Well I was just given a job to do so I better go now…