Reading is fundamental but how do you decide what to read?

When I travel one of the things I look forward to is the opportunity to read novels – both fiction and non-fiction. This is in contrast to what I read when I am not traveling. Three newspapers a day, countless emails, magazines and newsletters are more than enough ‘content’ for me to try to keep up with.
I don’t know about you but after a ten or twelve hour work day, reading a novel most often has my eyes closing within fifteen minutes. It’s not that I don’t enjoy what I read; I simply am most often unable to stay awake. While I don’t watch all that much television, it’s much easier for me to remain awake watching television than it is to read (unless I am watching a movie at home which to me is great sleeping time).

We’ve heard all the statistics on how much television Americans watch. Some statistics from a 2007 article are below:

From a website – Each day in the U.S., people spend 4 hours watching TV, 3 hours listening to the radio and 14 minutes reading magazines.

And from
1/3 of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives.
42 percent of college graduates never read another book after college.
80 percent of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year.
70 percent of U.S. adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years.
57 percent of new books are not read to completion.
70 percent of books published do not earn back their advance.
70 percent of the books published do not make a profit.

Emarketer has some figures on average time spend on line 2008-2010 although no mention of time spent reading.

Maybe the numbers have changed a bit since 2007. But if I had to guess the data might show that some of the television time has been replaced by time spent on Facebook and other web-based activity.

Shortly after the statistics I have cited were released the Amazon Kindle came on the market. Today we have the Barnes & Noble Nook, and the iPad, along with other tablets that are ideal (or so it is said) for reading. I am impressed when I see commuters on the train reading books in the morning and I think they have the right idea. I am at my most-alert in the morning and yet I spend that time reading news stories, emails and whatever else comes my way via email.

Yet when I read a book (right now I am reading Bill Bryson’s – ‘A short history of private life’ and it is terrific), it is not quite a guilty pleasure but far more fulfilling that reading another news story about how the world financial crisis might turn out.

My wife is a dedicated reader of novels as is my eighteen year old daughter. My twenty-two year old son was a voracious reader but I suspect he has little time or interest in reading novels. I wish that were not the case.

How about you – do you read books, newspapers or magazines? All of them? None of them?

About markkolier

Futurist, entrepreneur, left lane driver, baseball lover
This entry was posted in Communication, Living in the World Today and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Reading is fundamental but how do you decide what to read?

  1. Peter Deegan says:

    I read between 10 and 30 books a year (fiction and non-fiction), The Economist, the New York Times and the Financial Times and numerous articles on the Internet. Recently, I’ve become interested in blogs and I came across yours while researching on the very subject of your posting. So I browsed some of your other postings and, without exception, found them interesting, thoughtful and informative. I hope this answers the questions you posed. May I ask you some questions? Why do you blog? My question is not intended to be frivolous or rude. You obviously put a lot of thought into your postings and you write well and have interesting things to say (which can’t always be said of all your fellow bloggers), but what drives you to do it? Do you get much feedback? Have you many readers? I’m genuinely interested in trying to understand blogging by non-journalists and those who don’t seem to be trying to sell anything, especially those who are articulate and well-informed and seem ‘normal’ (whatever that is).


    • markkolier says:

      Thank you for your well thought out comment Peter. I’ve not been asked ‘why’ I blog before and the question is neither frivolous nor rude. You are right that my intention is not to ‘sell’ anything – in fact I guard against falling into the trap of self-promotion (it does happen from time to time). My primary reason for blogging is my hope that I can cause people to think about things they don’t normally think about, or think about them in a different way. If I can at the same time make them smile once in a while – all the better. As for readers – I would say that I have a fairly regular group of readers that number in the hundreds as I receive on average more than 100 reads a day of my blog. The more I write the easier it becomes. Give it a try and good luck.


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