Who reads for fun?
“Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.”**
Anybody who thinks time moves in a linear fashion doesn’t subscribe to an internet newsfeed. 😉
I actually love it when somebody comments on a post I wrote years ago (as has happened a few times recently). Sometimes, somebody wants to correct me because of something that has changed in the intervening time, but that’s okay when it’s done respectfully…it just helps clarify the situation for other people who might stumble across the story.
In my morning
read the morning, the
showed up. I do look forward to their report every year, but I realized this one was familiar…and that I had written about it (and the coverage of it) back in September.
However, you can read the report now, which I’m not sure was the case at the time…it might have been more of the summary.
So, since it popped up, I wanted to read it again and in more detail.
I can say, I’m pretty good at spotting trends in numbers. I’m not a visual person. It used to frustrate people who would bring me an Excel chart on which they had worked for hours, and I’d say, “Can you just show me the numbers?” I remember someone doing that…showing me this great colorful chart (I have some color vision deficiency, which might have something to do with this…and I don’t visualize when I read, as I’ve discussed with my readers on this blog before), and me asking for the numbers. The person basically said, “You won’t be able to tell from that.”
I looked at the numbers for a few seconds, pointed to one, and said, “That one’s low.”
On the chart (which I hadn’t read), I think that one might have been circled and had an arrow and a highlight, something like that.
Don’t get me wrong: I think charts are great, and I know how to make visually arresting ones…they often just don’t impress me as much as the numbers.
So, looking at this report, there was a particular number that stood out.
There are a lot of interesting data in the report…what formats people read, which classes of devices they use for e-books, how many books they read, and so on.
The one that seemed to really show a divergence?
The number of books people read “for pleasure”. I used “for fun” in the headline, just because I like the feel of that better…but is reading a horror novel really fun? I think it is for people, while “pleasure” has some other connotations for me. Regardless, you can read this as “for pleasure” if you like. 😉
I’m going to break this down by their categories, and tell you what the “spread” is…what the gap is between the lowest percentage figure and the highest one:
- Gender: 8%
- Race: 15%
- Age: 5%
- Education: 36%
- Income: 12%
- Population density: 4%
Obviously, education has the biggest gap. 56% of people who have less than a high school diploma said they read for fun; it goes consistently up until “College+” is at 92%.
Note that they surveyed adults, so this isn’t just a case that the people in the survey were reading for school at the time, and therefore not reading for pleasure. The less than high school group only had 33% reading a book for “work or school”…”College+” was 72%. That is, of course, an even bigger gap at 39%, but I would guess that’s less under the control of the person. My guess would be that fewer people who have less than a high school diploma are in either school or a job which requires reading books.
What does it mean?
Well, it does tend to refute something I’ve thought…that requiring people to read specific books, and high school generally, might discourage people from reading for fun. The more education one has, which suggests that one has had more assigned reading, the more likely one is to say that they read for pleasure.
Another relatively big gap is reading for work or school correlating with income…that one is 32%.
Still, it’s interesting to me that more education means more reading for pleasure…or, I suppose (and this is also significant), it might be the other way around. People who read more for pleasure may be able to read more (and/or read in a better way) assigned material, meaning that they go farther down the education path.
What do you think? How did having assigned reading affect your reading for fun? Have you changed your opinion of that over the years? We probably all know people without much education who read a lot for pleasure…is there something you think makes the difference for them? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.
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** I’ve told this story in this blog once before, but it was years ago…and it’s still a good story. 😉
My best weird story was when I was in high school.
I had a history teacher I liked…we got along well. I remember asking if I could teach the causes of the Civil War one day, and was allowed to do that…it went very well.
So, one Friday, this teacher told a joke in our class: “Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.” Yes, they do…fruit flies like all kinds of fruit. 🙂
I thought that was funny, and repeated it to friends.
Monday morning, the teacher told the same joke. The teacher looked and me and said, “You’re not laughing.”
I said, “I thought it was funny on Friday.”
The teacher denied telling it on Friday…and the rest of the class denied hearing it. I was thinking they must have forgotten it, and then the teacher said, “It was in Herb Caen this morning.”
Herb Caen was a famous San Francisco area columnist, and I checked…sure enough, it was there Monday morning, and not Friday (I’m not sure I have the particulars right, but the basic story is right).
The people to whom I’d told it Friday? They remembered me telling it to them…and telling them I’d heard it in that teacher’s class.
Interesting that it was that joke…seems apropos.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.