Reading is FUNdamental

Did you know that 50% of American adults are unable to read and comprehend an 8th grade level book? (1)

Or how about this: 46% of American adults cannot understand the label on their prescriptions. (2)  That’s a scary thought….

1/3 of all high school graduates will never read another book the rest of their life; and 42% of college graduates will never read another book after college. (3)

80% of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year. (3)

70% of American adults have not been in a bookstore within the last 5 years. (3)

57% of new books purchased are not read to completion. (3)

Of those people surveyed who do read, 53% read fiction, and 43% read non-fiction.   The most popular fiction category is mystery and suspense, which accounts for 19% of all fiction read.  (4)

This one was a shocker for me.  A successful fiction book only sells 5,000 copies, and a successful non-fiction book only sells 7,500 copies.  (5)

Each day in the U.S. people spend 4 hours watching television, 3 hours listening to the radio, and only 15 minutes reading magazine articles.  (6)

There are about 120,000 new books published each year, however of that number 70% of them never make a profit or even enough to cover their advance. (7)

The point I’m trying to make here is that most American’s do not read.  I find that so sad.  And not that I’m a great connoisseur of the written word myself, but merely the fact that we have allowed ourselves to become so uneducated.  For me, the biggest shocker was the statistic that points to America’s obsession with television.  I don’t know what year that statistic was generated, but I suspect the internet would rival at least the amount of time people spend listening to the radio.  Frankly, I fail to see the appeal in television.  We canceled our cable service about nine months ago, and I haven’t even for a second missed it – we didn’t watch it when we were paying for it either.  I find television to be frustrating – too many ridiculous commercials.

As you might have noticed, I’ve added a Bookshelf to my blog – it’s in the right hand column just past my Blogroll.  As I’ve already said, I’m not a great reader.  For me it goes in spurts.  If I find a good book I can’t put it down.  If I find a bad book I won’t ever pick it back up again.  I am primarily a fiction reader – I adore brain candy.  I prefer two types of fiction: mystery and suspense, and Christian romance – more specifically, Amish romance.  I’m a huge sucker for Beverly Lewis and have read all of her books.  In the mystery and suspense category my three favorite authors are Agatha Christie (specifically, Hercule Poiroit and Miss. Marple mysteries), Tim Downs (I can’t get enough of the Bug Man novels), and Patricia Cornwall, although Ms. Cornwall tends to get a bit potty mouthed for my taste at times.  I’ve had to stop reading more than one of her books because the language just got too graphic for me.

But as you might notice from my Bookshelf, it’s not just fiction on the list.  I am also reading Crazy Love, Radical (by David Platt – not the Saul Olinsky book), and Lies Women Believe.  So far, these have turned out to be excellent Christian living and devotional books.  The first two take a fresh look at authentic Christianity; well fresh isn’t quite the right word as the truth they’re touting are actually old – first century kinda truths, but far beyond the bounds and comforts of our modern day Christianity.  And Lies Women Believe has been a profound read into the mind and heart of the very deception and Deceiver who seeks to destroy Christian women everywhere.  I think I’m going to be using this as one of my fall Bible study books for my ladies group.

But enough about me, what about you?  Are you a reader?  If so, what kinds of books do  you like?  Do you have a favorite author or series you just can’t put down?  If you’re not a reader, why is that?  I’m terribly curious.

(1) Jonathan Kozal, Illiterate America  (2) American Medical Association  (3) The Jenkins Group Inc. & Para Publishing  (4) Publishers Weekly  (5) The Author’s Guild  (6) Veronis, Suhler and Associates  (7) Bookwire & Jenkins Group Inc.

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