Monday, January 28, 2008

Reading into it, more or less

Ursula K. Le Guin has written an essay for Harper's on, as she puts it, the alleged decline of reading. Unfortunately for me it's behind a subscriber log-in, and I don't subscribe, but here's part of the preview text you can read without logging in:

But I also want to question the assumption—whether gloomy or faintly gloating—that books are on the way out. I think they’re here to stay. It’s just that not all that many people ever did read them. Why should we think everybody ought to now?

Yeah, that. Just as some conservatives point to the 1950s as an ideal age for family values, and it was never that except in fantasy, the golden age of reading surely hasn't passed. There were always people who didn't read because they liked other hobbies instead: bowling, or knitting, or playing bridge, for example. Some people prefer more social pastimes; some prefer more active ones. I don't think there's been a sea change in the percentage of people who read for pleasure.


Stef said...

I [heart] Ursula

Kai Jones said...

Yeah. She doesn't like crowds, so she doesn't often come to Orycon, but last Orycon she volunteered for the writers' workshop. Some lucky writer got to work with her personally on their story!