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1 in 4 Americans don't read-CNN article

Discussion in 'General Book Discussion' started by SFG75, Aug 21, 2007.

  1. SFG75

    SFG75 Well-Known Member

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    You are subversive that way, yes you are!. That is an excellent idea. We have a few younger family members whose parents have made sure that the kids "have everything.":rolleyes: Will have to buy books for all the family and see if they notice.:D
     
  2. abecedarian

    abecedarian Well-Known Member

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    Well.. why buy stuff I wouldn't even give my own kids? I don't have a problem with the toys I mentioned, btw. I just can't see adding to that whole mindset of accumulating stuff of little lasting value. A good book can be enjoyed longer than the one day it is brand new.

    If I can't get to the bookstore for the gift, I will give art supplies or a game, I just don't buy toys very often.

    For baby showers, I like to buy mom a copy of Honey For a Child's Heart by Gladys Hunt http://tinyurl.com/23a4u5, and Pat the Bunny for the baby...
     
  3. Rien

    Rien New Member

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    Am I the only one who keeps reading this thread as "One in four Americans don't read CNN articles"?
     
  4. SevenWritez

    SevenWritez New Member

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    I resent being called an idiot, idiot. And I don't care if that was aimed at me or not, I'm feeling sour.

    David Mitchell, Alex Garland, Bryce Courtenay, Stephen King, Christopher Rice, Stephen White, Khaled Hosseini, Steve Alten, Johnathan Stroud, some dude whose name I forgot, among a few others, are authors I've read from in the last two months, be it through new novels or re-reading. I should smack you. Twice.

    EDIT: And while I'm at it, seeing as I hate the majority of the 'literary' world, why does it matter if people choose to avoid reading? I love to read, as much as I enjoy writing and working out, two of my favorite past times. Why belittle someone or call them an idiot if they choose to hang out in their pool versus sitting cooped up in a chair curled over a flimsy clunk of papers? Just because you may be a bookworm cooped up in your house 24/7 to take black and white adventures does NOT mean everyone else should indulge in the same amenities that you do, so get off your high horse. I believe that in order to fully take in reading you need to have SOME sort of imagination, and if people can't get anything out of reading, so be it, let them do what they do, without insulting them. Aaaaaaand, that was a rant, but I stick by it.

    Readers are an f-word that I promised I wouldn't use anymore, but I implied it, so that's good enough on my boat. And now I leave, angry, happy, etc. You all fail. And I love you all. Just a bit. A bitty itty mitty bit.
     
  5. Samerron

    Samerron New Member

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    Good strategy, I already start doing it but in the end you show people what a book is, but can't force them to read. I have given a book to a relative since April, and until now she only read the first chapter (15 pages?) not because it's not interesting, but because of laziness! :eek:
     
  6. unKeMPt

    unKeMPt New Member

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    I don't you have a very good understanding of statistical significance. Statistical significance doesn't refer the validity of a particular survey but whether a certain outcome is likely to have occurred by chance. If it is unlikely, then it is statistically significant.

    Furthermore, if properly randomized (that is, everybody in the population is given a chance for inclusion within the survey AND everyone has the same chance of being picked), then the survey should be valid. It's not the researchers throwing out these claims; usually their words are rather precise in its meaning. (For example with a margin of error of 3%, they might say we are 90% confident that between 22-28% of the American populace has not read a book in the last year.) The only thing that really matters that might throw off the results in the response rate or how the questions were worded, which again is probably mentioned within the actual study.

    What you're talking about is a census (a report of an entire population), which is entirely different from a survey.

    This survey has probably failed, but not for the reason you claim it to. That response rate is utterly horrific. Which is the reason that phone interviews are much more successful means of garnering answers than mailing questionnaires.
     
  7. Zolipara

    Zolipara New Member

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    Sadly journalists practically never mentions the margin of error. Thats particularly annoying in surveys done monthly/yearly that is compared to last months/years survey. Then you usually get situations where the magnitude of "change" is less than the margin of error.
    For instance if in 2007 the survey say 25% is not reading and in 2008 you get 23% that is not reading (lets say both surveys have a 3% margin of error). Typically journalists/politicians will say "look here this survey says we are doing something right, more people are reading." Yet statistically you cant say anything has changed.
     
  8. abecedarian

    abecedarian Well-Known Member

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    Even with the margin of error allowed, we all know how hard it is to find readers within our individual circles. I'm not sure what value to place on surveys and articles like this one, other than perhaps they serve as discussion starters for those of us who care about this issue. I think we all cringe when we read anecdotes from nonreaders such as were included in this article, excusing their lack of interest in the printed page, and I'm willing to bet we all think, "yeah, but if the would just read_______, I bet they'd be hooked!" If this survey and article inspire even one of us to try one more time with just one nonreader, then I think it's worth it.
     
  9. ScottHughes

    ScottHughes New Member

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    I've been told that 80% of Americans did not buy or read a book in the last year. I think CNN's poll gives people too much credit.
     
  10. Fantasy Moon

    Fantasy Moon kickbox

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    I've noticed that even Jay Leno has included this survey in his monologue.

    Good point, abc!
     
  11. SFG75

    SFG75 Well-Known Member

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    Exactly, which is why running a BOTM is difficult. Getting readers to do that is like herding cats.

    If a person doesn't read a book in a month, but reads the Wall Street Journal every day or Newsweek, then I would think less bad things about them.:D

    I like to share articles via e-mail, as well as pass along books of common interest.
     
  12. unKeMPt

    unKeMPt New Member

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    Yes, this could represent another problem. Many people, despite the fact that they are promised complete confidentiality in these surveys, will feel stupid in truthfully describing the number of books they read in a year and will pad the number a bit, thus skewing the results to seem higher than they would otherwise.

    That's true with nearly any survey, however.
     
  13. giddieon

    giddieon New Member

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    to me I see reading as a skill... some are really good some are poor but most are in the middle...

    I have to work at reading... and that I know a lot of people see it very much like that work...

    I read I read way more then any of my guy friends do except for one...
    that is 2 out of 12...

    I like reading and when the book is good I love it... I am 31 years and I know I am not the sharpest tool in the shed this does not mean I am with out skill.... See growing up I hated read.... I would read one book get all excited when I finished and start the next,... The problem I quickly found out even though the two books where very different...

    They would seem to blend once I was half through the second.. Names characters events happened all the time...

    I have gotten over that... Now I am not like my wife who's skill in reading is excellent... she can pass through a good book in a night... TV on Kids jump n me playing games no problem...

    Me has to be dead quite no noise at.... no distraction... or I have to end up rereading passages....

    What I am saying or tiring to that when the skill reading comes so good to the people that can do it... please don't say that the ones...that don't or say they can't ... don't call them dumb or lazy or just don't care...

    Because we are not... I have skills most people don't have but I swear to you I would never enter into a spelling bee...

    One of the biggest reasons I read is so that my daughter sees me read...
    I know when the parents read more the kids will want to read more...

    So just remember most people see reading a book be fantasy or historical see it as work... it is not as easy as it comes to most of the people and I don't think anyone here has to work at it...
     
  14. BeerWench13

    BeerWench13 Active Member

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    This is probably true. At least, most that I know that don't read will say the same. They only read what they have to read for work or school. They don't enjoy it and have a hard time either sitting still that long or being able to concentrate. I'm a born multi-tasker and my husband asks me all the time "How can you do that and grasp anything?" when he sees me reading a book, playing poker online and the TV is on in the background. My mind must be active at all times. My husband is the opposite and his body must be active all the time. He can't even sit still long enough to watch a movie without falling asleep, much less read a book. Reading isn't for everyone.

    As far as those surveys go, I took one not too long ago online and when asked how many books I read in the last 3 months, I had to guess. I don't really keep count since some weeks I can read up to 4 books and others I don't have time to finish one. Also, those surveys are usually multiple choice and give you a range to choose from, such as 1-3, 4-7, 8-10 and 10+. So, if I were to read 7 books, they may only mark me down for 4 and vice versa. I don't put too much credence in these types of statistics, but I do think that it's very possible that the numbers are not far from the truth. However, I know quite a few people who love to read, but are so busy with their kids and their jobs and extra-curricular activities that they simply don't have the time.
     
  15. jaynebosco

    jaynebosco New Member

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    My mom who loves books doesn't read as much as she used to; its a combination of the fact that a lot of people still commute in their cars and that their jobs take so much out of them that they don't read as much. Even though I was taking public transit to and from work, the only time that I found time to read was either at lunch or if I was really in the mood for reading. I was so tired by the time I went to bed, that I would hardly get a page of reading done before I fell asleep.
     
  16. ScottHughes

    ScottHughes New Member

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    What bothers me is people who don't read but watch TV.

    Then again, if it wasn't for them, people wouldn't think of me as so smart.
     
  17. Oklahoma

    Oklahoma New Member

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    I can name over ten people that I know who never read. I am not just speaking of occasionally falling behind, getting burned out, or being too busy. I mean never. I suppose that's their right as human beings, but I hate it when instead of simply saying " I don't like to read" , and being honest, they make excuses.

    " I've never had time." " My parents never made me" ( boy, talk about laying the blame) and " My children won't let me." are three of the most irritating. Followed by my cousin's famous " Why would I want to? I have cable." and a neighbor's " I just can't understand books."

    My mother, who was not a college graduate, read everyday, while raising three children, three step-children, and running a farm. She was also proof that women do read non-fiction. She read mainly histories. My dad used to tuck paperbacks in his lunchbox and read them while working at a quarry. Any two minutes he could stand still, he had a book out. They've read hundreds.

    My 89 year old grandmother only has an eighth grade education. She is currently reading through Civil War biographies. She read everyday while raising ten children and working in a bakery.

    I think that Americans have become used to softly cushioning their behavior with tailored excuses. It's easier in a society where people are so competitive, sometimes to the point of being vicious. However, it's better just to be honest for why you don't read. At least the Richard quoted in the article was honest. He just isn't going to be very diverse.
     
  18. Dharma

    Dharma New Member

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    Here in Portugal is more or less the same, in my opinion. Most people I know don't read that much and some even find me awkward because I read more than two books per month. Many of them don't even have excuses. They simply believe reading is boring, and, come on, who wants to read books when you have cable/magazines/playstations/computer games/internet?

    Dharma
     
  19. BeerWench13

    BeerWench13 Active Member

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    I must admit that there are quite a few of my friends who rib me about always having my nose in a book. I read a minimum of one chapter a day. Most days I read more than that, but some days I just don't feel like it or my brain is fried from working all day and simply wants mindless activity such as watching TV, or I'm otherwise occupied.

    I love to cook and many of the meals I make can take anywhere from 1-5 hours to prepare. I also have a garden that I must tend. And, I enjoy playing poker and they have banned reading at the table at the local game in which I play. I do find that when I'm doing these activities, especially the gardening, I find myself thinking about the book that I am currently reading and trying to figure out what is going to happen next.

    My husband "reads" through me. When I'm reading a book, he'll ask me what's happened since we last discussed it and I'll give him a basic synopsis of the current happenings in the book. I guess I'm his version of Cliff's Notes.
     
  20. PhilW

    PhilW New Member

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    I don't much know (or care) if I'm right about that - I'm not a statistician, I used the expression 'statistically significant' in a general sense, not a specific one. If they only asked 1003 people about their reading habits, how do they know they asked a truly representative sample? Did they ask a lot more than 1003 people what their circumstances were before deciding which 1003 should participate in the actual survey? In which case, why not survey all the people they asked to begin with? Did they just use a sample of 1003 based on some set of criteria? Or maybe they DID ask gazillions of people but only 1003 bothered to reply? Which brings me back to my original point, unless they were very clever or very lucky, I don't see how 1003 out of 200-odd million can hope to be an accurate representation. But like I say, I'm not a statistician. From a 'man on the Clapham omnibus' common-sense point of view, it doesn't add up. Which is why I always distrust such surveys :)
     

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