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More Debate Over the Decline of Reading

2/13/2008 7:09:00 PM

Tags: Ursula K. Le Guin, Harper's, National Endowment for the Arts, decline in reading

Americans are reading less, reports the Writer’s Chronicle. The article cites a November 2007 report (pdf) by the National Endowment for the Arts, which found that Americans of all demographic groups are voluntarily reading less than 10 to 20 years ago.  “If, at the current pace, America continues to lose the habit of regular reading, the nation will suffer substantial economic, social, and civic setbacks,” the study concludes.  

Ursula K. Le Guin offers an alternative perspective in the February 2008 issue of Harper’s (excerpt only available online). “I want to question the assumption—whether gloomy or faintly gloating—that books are on the way out,” Le Guin writes. “It’s just that not all that many people ever did read them. Why should we think everybody ought to now?”

Sarah Pumroy

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