593: Let’s Read

What book(s) are you looking forward to reading?


Full episode script

Way back in Episode 70, I included a quote from the National Council of Teachers of English. And while I’m not usually a fan of repeating sources and keeping each episode new, it’s powerful enough I think it’s worth repeating. Quote:

“The right of any individual not just to read but to read whatever he or she wants to… is basic to a democratic society. This right is based on an assumption that the educated possess judgment and understanding and can be trusted with the determination of their own actions. In effect, the reader is freed from the bonds of chance. The reader is not limited by birth, geographic location, or time, since reading allows meeting people, debating philosophies, and experiencing events far beyond the narrow confines of an individual’s own existence.”

 

Reading – not just in any one format, but in any format – is a skill that’s certainly not universal, but is pretty widely understood. As Our World in Data pointed out, quote:

From a historical perspective, literacy levels for the world population have risen drastically in the last couple of centuries. While only 12% of the people in the world could read and write in 1820, today the share has reversed: only 17% of the world population remains illiterate.

 

That rate of who is capable of reading and writing, though, doesn’t have a direct correlation with the choice to (or time or ability to) read books in just about any form. One source I found estimated worldwide hours spent reading, and the top five countries were India, Thailand, China, Philippines, and Egypt by the number of hours spent reading.

 

Digging deeper into stats, the mean average of books read for pleasure by adults in the UK is around 10 each year, with a median of around 4. Meanwhile, the Pew Research Center estimates that

“Americans read an average (mean) of 12 books per year, while the typical (median) American has read 4 books in the last 12 months.”

 

These, however, are all just statistics. Really, I’m curious what you all are reading, or would suggest. So…

This script may vary from the actual episode transcript.