American newspapers are doing away with their book reviews. After all, what's the point of book reviews in a nation of non-readers? Scott McLemee says "Hey! Wait a minute!"
I'm glad he's taking a stand for those of us who are still bookworms. But, in my experience, we tend to congregate in big cities, and to be as rare as albinos everywhere else in the states.
I know this question is blasphemous for someone who wants to be an educator to ask, but does it really matter that most Americans don't read? I mean, whenever I read these articles about how Americans are largely unfamiliar with books, there seems to be a tone of inflated despair to them, as if this truly does not bode well for the future. But somehow it's hard to be overly concerned after you visit other countries where most people are still actively reading. Greg, you can let me know about the ''German lands'', but everywhere I went in France, there were people sitting around on benches reading books. And good books! Not 'The Secret' or the latest 'courtroom genetically-engineered spy murder thriller'! Every other television show was people sitting around debating books. And, in general, I found a much higher level of cultural literacy in conversations with people. Therefore I find it hard to believe that literacy or the art of writing will die out in the modern era. Granted, none of my students read for enjoyment- not a one- but I also don't feel so tied to the fate of the nation that this worries me greatly. If I get sick of it, I'll just move. America is just one of the places I frequent. And besides, the nation-state is so 19th century.
This isn't to bash on Americans really; actually I'd like to question the idea that American illiteracy affects anyone but illiterate Americans. Is there any reason to worry about this? If people don't want to read books, can't we just avoid them altogether?