13 January 2009

We did it!! Fiction reading on the rise for the first time since the '80s.

Did you hear the great news? People are reading again! The publishing industry is saved! And the economy! We're all going to be okay now!

...All right, now that I've used my monthly quota of exclamation points, let's look at the data. The National Endowment for the Arts, which does a reading survey every year, found that 50.2 percent of American adults had read a novel, short story, poem or play in the past 12 months, up 3.5% since 2002. That's not a huge change, really.

The real news is that reading went up among my pet demographic (at least for a few months!), the 18-to-24-year-olds. Stephenie Meyer fans will take credit for this in 5... 4... 3... 2... Well, I certainly can't take credit for it, so they might as well.

The Times snottily points out that the study doesn't differentiate between whether you're reading WAR AND PEACE again or "a single piece of fan fiction on the Internet." But that's their job, I guess, to point out that they would never do anything so déclassé as read fanfic. I don't read much of it, but I have read some, so why must we be so closed-minded?

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