by Colleen White
You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.
– Ray Bradbury
Literature is dying.
Or at least, that’s what a recent Washington Post article would have you believe. The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) just published their annual arts participation survey, and the results don’t look great.
A mere 43% of adults read at least one piece of literature for pleasure in 2015, the lowest rate reported since the survey was started in 1982. In the intervening years, we’ve seen the rise of the Internet, smartphones, and home-theater experience (‘Netflix-and-Chill’ is even more sinister than we’d imagined), and the result may be the slow but steady decline of reading fiction for pleasure.
Which means my knee-jerk reaction of, “The horror! The horror!” might not be a reference people understand in a few decades.
Should we care? As a writer for a website called Literati Pulp, it’s no secret where I stand on the matter.
And research is on my side. Studies have found reading improves:
- Test scores
- Empathy, (shout out to my fellow weepy readers)
- And might even make you appear more attractive to the opposite sex
Personal experience has found that literary puns, however, are still a huge turnoff. Damn.
Related Reading: 4 Books To Jump-Start Your Reading Habit