The National Endowment for the Arts recently published its Annual Arts Basic Survey, and the news isn’t so great for literature. As reported by Dani Spencer at Electric Literature, only 43 percent of American adults read a novel, short story, poem or play on their own for pleasure in 2015....more
Posts Tagged: reading habits
What kind of reading would best suit someone with your personality? Lit Hub has an excerpt from the forthcoming book “Psychobook: Games, Tests, Questionnaires, Histories,” edited by Julian Rothenstein, that shares Robert McCrum’s questionnaire of ways to gauge readers personalities by their reading diets....more
The Pew Research Center has released an interesting set of data on reading in America, and it’s not all bad. In fact, their data indicates, among many things, that print books are far from obsolete—and actually dominate e-books—and that reading consumption has stayed mostly the same since 2012....more
We hear enough about page-turner books, but what about those books that are easy to put down? For Book Riot, Brenna Clarke Gray takes another look at books that don’t often get a second look:
The unputdownables will power you through a readathon, help you get to your book club on time, and make sure you defeat your library fines in one fell swoop.
In a recent study, researchers found that people over fifty who read more—books in particular—lived an average of two years longer than those who didn’t read at all:
The researchers discovered that up to 12 years on, those who read for more than 3.5 hours a week were 23% less likely to die, while those who read for up to 3.5 hours a week were 17% less likely to die.
As a child, I loved it when a book took me somewhere else. I still do, but I’m more surprised and grateful now to be transported by words on a page from one world to another. Perhaps because, as grown-ups, we value what is harder won.
At Electric Literature, Nick Politan reports on a new study that suggests that reading in childhood has a link to financial success in adulthood. Politan, however, is critical of the study, which he argues reduces books to their “capitalist value”:
Can “books” not be something(s) — at least for a reader — positively stripped of their economic jackets?
At Bustle, Lindsay Merbaum writes about her experiences reading books at bars and how some men feel threatened by the presence of a single woman reading:
Perhaps what is so subversive is not just the aloneness of a woman at a bar reading a book, but the combination of her aloneness with her lack of interest in the men nearby.
As much as many of us would love to read faster so that we could read more books, science points to speed reading as little more than efficient skimming, partially because the eye has a limited range where it can truly focus:
A deeper problem, however—and the one that also threatens the new speed-reading apps—is that the big bottleneck in reading isn’t perception (seeing the words) but language processing (assembling strings of words into meanings).
Amazon just announced its newest Kindle model—there are slight technological enhancements over its predecessor, but the bigger shift is in significant aesthetic changes meant to make the device feel more like a book. But plastic polymers are never going to have to same feel as paper, even if a device can hold an entire library....more
Finland tops the charts for most literate nation, with the United States coming in seventh. A new study looks not just at literacy rates but at literacy behaviors. These behaviors include counting libraries, newspapers, and years of schooling. Ranking nations based on reading assessment only would result in a very different list of top readers....more
It’s no secret that libraries have had a rocky relationship with publishers since the ebook boom began in the late aughts. Publisher’s Weekly suggests three ways the two could work to heal the rift, but one of the suggestions is surprising: librarians need to stop “book shaming”:
What today’s library elite seems to forget is that reading is a maker activity—and a profound one.
Jutting out from the depths are exactly what I was looking for: bookmarks. Rows upon rows of them, in fact. But instead of alleviating my current need, the image fills me with a brief—but very real—dread.
But do we actually scan the written word silently? Recent neurological research questions whether silent reading actually is silent. Evidence grows that the brain interprets “silent” reading as an auditory phenomenon.
Our ancestors most likely read aloud, in public, rather than quietly to themselves in the home....more
If you like some of the things, why not read all of the things? Flavorwire’s Sarah Seltzer wonders why fans lose steam as we near the completist finish line:
Maybe we’re saving those final few books for a bad day… Or maybe we know that a final book is supposed to be less than stellar, and we don’t want it to mar our reverence for the author.
Great news for avid readers! It turns out that intense reading is good exercise for your brain. Over at Open Culture, Josh Jones writes about a study by Michigan State University Professor Natalie Phillips, who compares the brain activity of participants alternating between a close read and a casual perusal of a chapter in Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park:
Thus, she theorizes, the practice and teaching of close reading “could serve—quite literally—as a kind of cognitive training, teaching us to modulate our concentration and use new brain regions as we move flexibly between modes of focus.”
(n.); the process of forgetting;
“Curiously enough, one cannot read a book: one can only reread it. When we read a book for the first time, the very process of laboriously moving our eyes from left to right, line after line, page after page, this complicated physical work upon the book, the very process of learning in terms of space and time what the book is about, this stands between us and artistic appreciation.”
–Vladmir Nabokov, from “Good Readers and Good Writers”
This week, Tim Parks takes us on a wonderfully meditative reflection on something we tend, as readers, to take for granted: the physical act of moving one’s eyes across the page, of engaging with words, and—unavoidably—forgetting them....more
Danika Ellis, a bookseller who works at a used bookstore, has learned through her work to see books differently—not as objects that belong to her, but objects that she possesses for the moment:
I don’t consider myself the final owner of my books.
Writers sometimes forget the importance of reading. Just about everyone who writes started out as a voracious reader, but working on the craft of writing ends up displacing time previously spent reading. Over at Dead Darlings, Kelly Robertson takes a look at the importance of continuing to read:
It is only by reading a lot can we really interpret what we learned in all of our classes.
More banally we may stand at the luggage collection carousel watching endless bags tumble onto the belt. We hold in our minds a shadowy idea of our own bag. Then suddenly it is there and the effort of “visualizing” ceases. Perhaps we realize that the bag is not quite as we remembered it.
What I’m talking about instead are the ways in which chapters are not merely components of a narrative’s foundational architecture but also part of its aesthetic, i.e., more like those imposing Ionic columns that both hold up the facade and immensely add to the overall quality of the building.
How many times do you need to reread Hamlet? Stephen Marche says he’s reread the play more than a hundred times. And all that reading has not been without effect. Marche says that by rereading Hamlet, its meaning has changed:
The main effect of reading Hamlet a 100 times was, counter-intuitively, that it lost its sense of cliche.