Who Doesn't Read?

I was served a study from the Pew Research Center in my inbox Sunday. It went on to say that 26% of Americans had not read a book in the past 12 months and that 20% of America has not visited a library in the past year.

There are some other interesting stats about income levels and how they attach themselves to the data — people with lower income levels tend to not read at a greater level than people in higher income brackets. But the issue is bigger than income levels can measure.

In March I read 9 books. This year I have read 18 already. I do that in part because I love books and in part because there is research that it may fight against Alzheimer’s which took my Grandmother and has ravaged my uncle — needless to say, I am actively working all my options.

Reading long form pieces, like books, tends to boost intelligence, makes people more empathetic, and more importantly in 2017 — it increases your ability to think critically.

Fake news is a real issue, but it isn’t a new one. In 1835 the Great Moon Hoax may seem preposterous to modern humans but 25% of that population was illiterate. Maybe that seems like a high number but in 2017 14% of adults read below a 4-grade level and cannot make sense of complex ideas. In a 2015 study by the department of education, only 37% of 12 grade students can read at a proficiency level appropriate to their age.


So if you wonder about how fake news spreads or false stories take hold in the social space — maybe we should buy our friends books this year for birthdays?

Think what would happen if everyone read ONE book this year — then think about a time where people who read 50–60 books in a year aren’t special. Now one more, think about a world where books don’t exist because we stopped using them and your sources of information come only from mass or digital mediums owned by entities that don’t have our best interest in mind…

I am off to the bookstore.

Eric HultgrenComment