Can we read?

The NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) has issued a report on the decline of book reading. Is it true? Or better how accurate is it? I am doubtful. I am a reader; the child of readers; the spouse of a voracious reader; the mother and grandmother of readers (well, one is still working on it; he's only four). I read the non-reading trend news skeptically.But I could be wrong. Caleb Crain in the "Christmas" issue ofthe New Yorkertakes up the issue in some deatail citing the neuro differences between readers and non-readers; quoting my favorite Walter Ong, S.J., on the coming culture--second orality; analyzing the role of TV watching (visual) vs. web-surfing (textual), and concluding with the threat a non-literate culture would present too democracy. Here it is: fellow readers and writers what do you make of this. You read. Do your kids? your students? your spouses? And what? fiction? poetry? history? etc.

Margaret O’Brien Steinfels is a former editor of Commonweal. 

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