Did you know that Mary Gaitskill has a new short story collection, Don’t Cry, out? I very much look forward to buying and reading that. I’ve heard good things about John Wray’s Lowboy recently. I’ll probably read that too. Why? Because I’m an antisocial elitist. That’s not self-deprecation. That’s RESEARCH:
The research, to be published this week, looked at attitudes to books in the C2DE socio-economic group, characterised as lower income, non-professional families and estimated at 20m in size.
It found that in many such families, books were seen as alien and unattractive, while reading was considered an anti-social activity for people who, as one respondent said, “don’t know how to live”.
Even trashy airport reads? Nora Roberts and John Grisham are now considered the scribes of tomes too high-falutin’ for consumption by the masses? This gives me a sad.
Commenting on the research, NYR project director Honor Wilson-Fletcher said: “These are good solid families who don’t have literacy problems but who just don’t read. They are one step away from book-buying – they do consume lots of leisure products and may have 2-300 DVDs in the house.
“But intentionally or otherwise, a lot of people involved in the book world are conveying the impression that reading is associated with a particular area of society and lifestyle.”
Wasn’t there a time (likely mythical, sure) when even if your home were a cabin with a dirt floor, there were still always copies of the Bible and the Complete Works of Shakespeare on hand? Now it is that every foreclosed ranch house has Jeff Dunham stand-up DVDs and the latest Grand Theft Auto.
It’s not even like these folks are lined up to read their books on the newfangled Kindle machine.
(Sliver of a silver lining: “the NYR’s end-of-year report, published today (24th March), reveals that the year succeeded in significantly upping the number of parents in its target market who read to their children every day.”)
Anyway. If you want me, I’ll be finishing construction of my underground bunker, where upon completion I’ll live out my days with a stock of fancy French wines and cheeses, a steady stream of NPR and my books. I’ll molder along with them, obsolete but content.
Trade ‘Excludes’ 20m readers [Bookseller]