Monday, April 18, 2011

Does anyone want to be "well-read?"

Roger Ebert has a wonderful little essay over at his blog decrying the sad state of reading (or lack thereof). According to the Jenkins Group, 80 percent of families in the United States did not buy a single book last year. By the time people graduate from college, 42 percent of them will not even bother to read another book!


He quotes Cynthia Ozick from a recent issue of The New Republic:
"Consider: who at this hour (apart from some professorial specialist currying his "field") is reading Mary McCarthy, James T. Farrell, John Berryman, Allan Bloom, Irving Howe, Alfred Kazin, Edmund Wilson, Anne Sexton, Alice Adams, Robert Lowell, Grace Paley, Owen Barfield, Stanley Elkin, Robert Penn Warren, Norman Mailer, Leslie Fiedler, R.P. Blackmur, Paul Goodman, Susan Sontag, Lillian Hellman, John Crowe Ransom, Stephen Spender, Daniel Fuchs, Hugh Kenner, Seymour Krim, J.F. Powers, Allen Ginsberg, Philip Rahv, Jack Richardson, John Auerbach, Harvey Swados--or Trilling himself?"
Who indeed. I can count only five that are familiar to me. I need to remedy that.

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