Are we a nation of illiterates?


Sometimes I wonder if anybody still reads out there. I am not referring to you, of course. Outside of my many friends in the mystery community, I really wonder how many pick up a book for enjoyment. To be honest, I don’t know anybody who I come in frequent contact with who reads books regularly. Several months ago I began to write reviews for the Tampa Tribune. Out of all the people I know, only three actually acknowledged reading these reviews. Now, this may indicate they simply don’t read the Tampa Tribune or the book review pages. I really think they just don’t read and therefore have no interest in books as a whole. It might very well be a reflection of our education system or, most likely, the vast number of entertainment choices we have.

I read last week that many more people would know the name of Homer Simpson’s son than are able to name a single classic of Homer the poet. Some friends of mine said it was scary when they walked through their office reciting the first two lines of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and nobody could identify the author or the speech. I did the same experiment and found only four out of perhaps two dozen that I asked knew the answer with certainty. Try it yourself with your acquaintances. It is scary!