Monday, January 12, 2009

Guest Blogger ~ Kimberly Gardner

Our first guest blogger from ManLoveRomance Press is Kimberly Gardner. Kimberly's first solo book, Phoenix Rising, has already been nominated for several awards.

Reading on the Rise

According to an article in yesterday's NY Times, reading is on the riseamong adults in the United States. For the first time since 1982, the numberof people over the age of eighteen who said they had read at least one novel, short story, poem or play during the previous twelve months has actually increased.

Now far be it for me to cast a shadow over what is, to be sure, a ray of sunshine in an otherwise grim perspective given the amount of dire news we're hearing about the economy in general and from the publishing sector in particular. But really, one book in the previous twelve months?

Like most of you who are regular readers of this blog, I am an avid consumer of fiction of all genres. In fact, just this weekend I bought five new books. So the fact that there is a huge segment of the population who either reads nothing at all or has read no more than a single poem, play or short story during the past year is absolutely appalling to me.

The report, titled "Reading on the Rise", was sponsored by the nationalEndowment for the Arts. It says in part,

"The proportion of adults reading some kind of so-called literary work -just over half - is still not as high as it was in 1982 or 1992, and the proportion of adults reading poetry and drama continued to decline. Nevertheless the proportion of overall literary reading increased amongvirtually all age groups, ethnic and demographic categories since 2002. It increased most dramatically among 18-to-24-year-olds, who had previously shown the most significant declines."

And what is "literary reading" anyway?

Would the books I read count as literary reading? Would the books I write count? Why do I suspect not?

Furthermore, does this report take into account the reading of ebooks, the popularity of which have been consistently rising. Do the authors of the report count audiobooks among their findings? The author of the article, Motoko Rich, doesn't seem to know either.

Call me overly optimistic if you like, but I suspect that if the definition of "reading" were expanded to include all the aforementioned media as well as online reading, we would see a far more dramatic increase in the numberof people regularly enjoying fiction.

If you'd like to read the article--c'mon, you know you want to--here's the link. The article will also steer you to the full report if you're so inclined.

So let's break out our celebratory beverage of choice and put on our dancing shoes. Or would that be our reading glasses? Because reading is on the rise and that can only be a good thing.

You can find out more about Kimberly and her writing at


jetmykles said...

One book in twelve months? Just a poem? jeez. My own reading has gone down but I've managed more than that, not counting crits and such. *sigh* that's just sad

Jeanne said...

Isn't it? Reminds me of when I used to work at a trophy shop in Minneapolis years ago.
During my lunch break I'd walk over to the library which was only a few blocks away and come back with at least a dozen books.
The comments of my co-workers, especially my younger co-workers?
"Are you taking courses at the University?"
The only reason they could see for my reading was that I *had* to for school.
What a shame.

Ally Blue said...

Well clearly I work WAY too much because I'm sounding like some of these not-reading people, which scares me kind of a lot O_O

Errrr... I'm reading my own book for galleys right now, does that count? Heh.

Kimber, I wonder the same thing as you: what is "literary" reading, and do the books we tend to read count in this study? The Happy Onioin (afore-mentioned galley book)? Phoenix Rising? Hell, does World War Z count? That's the last book I gobbled like a piece of candy and it's got nothing to do with manlove or indeed sex of any description. It's all about the zombies, baby! What about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, did that count?

Okay, now I'm getting paranoid. Deep breaths, deep breaths... no reading paranoia before the EDJ..