Wednesday, April 16, 2008

On reading

Here's an interesting fact: In 2007, Washington DC was America's fifth most literate city.



While that may sound good to you, it smacks of failure to me, because in 2006, we were tied for third. To compensate, I'm going to have to start reading again. Of course, it'll have to be when I'm not working, running, or watching bad reality tv. And since, somehow, I have not managed to finish A SINGLE BOOK this year, I need to get to work.


11 comments:

violindan said...

Holy cow. There is someone who reads books less than I do? (While not at work, I mean.)

DSL said...

If you haven't read it already, I recommend A Thousand Splendid Suns. I love this author and I don't usually read a lot of contemporary literature. I think I'll start on Freakonomics after the book I'm currently reading. Even though I've essentially quit my book club, I'm still trying to keep reading. I have a lot of unread books in my shelves.

Justin S. said...

We should be 4th anyway. Minneapolis and St. Paul shouldn't be able to count themselves separately.

dara said...

Dan: I read books, I just haven't been able to sit still long enough to finish anything lately. This is an aberration for me.

DSL: I don't read a lot of bestseller-list stuff either. But I did like The Kite Runner, so I bought A Thousand Splendid Sunsfor my Nana, and will probably read it the next time I go down to Florida.

Justin: Well, if that's the case, even if we are in 4th place, we are exponentially behind.

DSL said...

All the contemporary literary I read ends up being of a different time and/or place.

Did they give explanation as to why the cities were ranked the way they were? Perhaps there's not that much else to do in Minnesota. Or perhaps lawyers and politicians don't really read all that much. You being an exception of course.

dara said...

You have to look pretty closely to find their definition of literacy. It's based on what they consider to be "six key indicators of literacy: newspaper circulation, number of bookstores, library resources, periodical publishing resources, educational attainment, and Internet resources."

It's actually a pretty interesting study

DSL said...

But I wonder what percentage of each.

dara said...

What percentage of each? I don't think it works like that. They say they only looked at major cities, defined as having a population of 250,000 or above. And then they measured the various factors that they considered indicators of literacy.

For example, they measured bookstores by comparing the number of retail booksellers per 10,000 population, the number of rare and used booksellers per 10,000, and the number of members of the American Booksellers Association per 10,000. (DC ranked 10th overall.)

DSL said...

I was just wondering if a city won out by a greater number of bookstores, etc. Just curious. I know next to nothing about Minnesota.

dara said...

It's not like Minneapolis "won" because it had a larger total number of bookstores than Seattle. They looked at ratios -- comparing the number of bookstores in each city to population, the newspaper subscriptions to population, the library resources to population, etc. -- and the city with the best overall numbers happened to be Minneapolis. (And for the record, Seattle had more bookstores/booksellers per 10,000 people than Minneapolis, which ranked third in that category.)

DSL said...

I see. We just need to get rid of a few thousand people then.