Monday, January 12, 2009

Reading Takes An Upward Turn

There's something heartening in the NYTimes headline this a.m., "Fiction Reading Increases for Adults," but the truth of the story is another story, indeed.

Yep, reading fiction is up numerically, according to the story, but what's being read isn't quantified. As the story points out, one poem read last year has the same weight as the complete works of Shakespeare, and one Nora Roberts novel is equivalent to "the complete works of Proust or Dickens."

Still, there's hope: “There has been a measurable cultural change in society’s commitment to literary reading,” said Dana Gioia, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. “In a cultural moment when we are hearing nothing but bad news, we have reassuring evidence that the dumbing down of our culture is not inevitable.” Hear, hear! What's on your reading list today? Let me suggest The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey by Candice Millard. It's a dandy.

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