American Adults Reading More Fiction
“Reading on the Rise: A New Chapter in American Literacy“, a report issued yesterday by the National Endowment for the Arts, indicates that the number of adults (18 years +) reading at least one novel, short story, poem or play within the previous 12 months, has increased.
While the proportion of adult literary readers is still lower than that in 1982 and 1992, it has risen from 46.7% in 2002 to 50.2% in 2008. The greatest increase is in the segment that previously had the most significant declines, the 18-to-24 -year-olds.
“In a cultural moment when we are hearing nothing but bad news, we have reassuring evidence that the dumbing down of our culture is not inevitable,” says Dana Gioia, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts.
Gioia spearheaded “The Big Read“, an initiative of the National Endowment of the Arts in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services, to bring reading to the core of the American culture. The Big Read:
“… provides citizens with the opportunity to read and discuss a single book within their communities. The initiative includes innovative reading programs in selected cities and towns, comprehensive resources for discussing classic literature, an ambitious national publicity campaign, and an extensive Web site providing comprehensive information on authors and their works. “
The Big Read has featured a wide variety of books such as:
- Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
- The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
- Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
- The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
- Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
- Washington Square by Henry James
- The Thief and the Dogs by Naguib Mahfouz
- A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin
- The Poetry of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow