Why We Don’t Read, Revisited
The New Yorker · Caleb Crain · 6/14/18
The New Yorker
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11 min read


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  • Pegeen - 2 months ago
    I know people who feel guilty reading - they seem to equate it with “doing nothing” and therefore a waste of time. We do seem to be a culture that values doing - to do lists and multitasking. Some are so exhausted from over doing, that opening a book is an invitation to nap! Television has changed with the advent of the premium channels and access to really incredible writing and acting. I have been guilty of the occasional binge watching but it will never take the place of my love of reading.
  • erica - 9 months ago
    I've never heard the term "secondary orality," which refers to a post-literature culture. That is terrifying.

    I'm sure there's other data the author could have cited to support his claim that Americans are reading less (e.g., bookstores going out of business).

    I don't know if the data supports the claim that, "Television, rather than the Internet, likely remains the primary force distracting Americans from books." I definitely see Internet as the primary culprit in my own life and the lives of people around me. Also, the line between TV and Internet is becoming blurrier with things like Netflix.
    • tourist - 8 months ago
      Aren't bookstores going out of business because of Amazon, rather than because of a decline in reading ?
      • bill - 8 months ago
        Yeah, probably. Here's what it looks like: https://www.statista.com/statistics/197710/annual-book-store-sales-in-the-us-since-1992/
  • mpstanford - 9 months ago
    3.45 hours per day on TV. WoW!

    That's more than two full soccer games.
  • swizco - 9 months ago
    wow if that last two lines dont just say it all...
    • caleb - 9 months ago
      Kind of tired of hearing about Trump in every article, though. This was supposed to be about reading! :)
      • swizco - 9 months ago
        yes i can understand that, but he is definitely relevant in this conversation and relevant as to why reallyread.it exists in the first place!
        • bill - 9 months ago
          @swizco @caleb - Both interesting points and I’m legit torn. On the one hand, I too am really sick of hearing/talking about Trump. On the other hand, it’s impossible to talk about big-picture things that impact “society” without addressing the single largest “societal” event - the election - and the results of that election. It’s one of the best/only true markers that we have and so it’s, like, deeply, *constantly* relevant.

          Anyway, day by day I switch back and forth between camps: “I refuse to talk about Trump,” and “We all need to talk about Trump ASAP.”
    • joanne - 9 months ago
      and that's pretty scary.
      • joanne - 9 months ago
        that comment was for swizco
        • swizco - 9 months ago
          yes very scary!
    • bill - 9 months ago
      Oh. My. God. Thank you SO SO much for sharing this! Excellent writing. Scary topic. I'm still jaw on floor re: TV watching. We have to start doing better (as a society) and the only way to do that is to just start doing better (as individuals). Fascinating.
      • swizco - 9 months ago
        i thought it was super fascinating that those who read still read the same amount, but we just have less readers. makes sense with gen z and screens, etc.
  • caleb - 9 months ago
    We all know people are reading less. That's why the author felt confident enough to write this article despite not having a clue how to parse the survey data. I don't either. Kudos for the author admitting so.
  • jamie - 9 months ago
    It must be very hard to determine what is actually reading on the internet......I am guilty as charged..... I do flip around quite a bit, but I also think I lock in on more interesting and diverse articles by quickly scanning sports, business, politics, etc. and then plowing through the content that serves me at the moment..... I think what we are losing is 'intentional reading' sitting down and just knowing you are going to read a specific thing (a book!). Anyway I do find it much more enjoyable when read only one desired item.....
  • joanne - 9 months ago
    fI think it's the perfect time for really read it...the fit bit for our minds. I thought it was interesting that the unemployed read more. Maybe we are just so busy as a society that reading is just getting pushed out of our crammed days.
  • bill - 9 months ago
    I'm going to try to use "dead-cat bounce" in regular conversation this week.