Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Writers Need More Readers

With official summer around the corner, some think it the season for pleasure reading.
After all, when else will career busy folks put down their technical must-read-for-work books? When else will school children pick up books they want to read but don’t have to?

Turns out that a whole nation embraces creative writing, and we now have a National Novel Writing Month, a.k.a NaNoWriMo every November. But as more people are writing novels than ever before, fewer are reading them.

Leisure time is precious. Between movie streaming and internet news and animal videos, people have found time to write and encourage each other to publish. But who will read all that output?
Other than committed writers who read and write year-round, (not only in November) and children assigned books at school, most Americans do not read much fiction for pleasure. To illustrate the point, more than ninety percent of book groups are middle aged (and older) women. This leaves out a lot of people, many of whom don’t read a single work of fiction if they don't have to.

I think it’s time for National Novel Reading Month.

The internet tells us there is a National Reading Month. it falls in March, in honor of Doctor Seuss’s birthday. The great doctor should be honored, but this suggests a designation aimed at very young readers only. What happened to all the novels written in November if in March we read picture books? Besides, who’s ever heard of this NaRe[ading]Mo if they didn’t search? Where is the engine that drives this to be an actual national event?

I think July is a better candidate for the honor. But any month will do. 
Just sayin’.


Vijaya said...

Reading is for everybody and in all seasons. It's good to promote reading for pleasure--I hope it catches on.

Sarah's Book Reflections said...

Hmm, never heard of National Reading Month, but it seems like a good idea to me. And I think July would be the ideal month. Good suggestion, Mirka.

Jenni said...

Interesting post. I think July is the perfect month. The summer is when I do my most reading and usually tackle those hard books I don't have the brain for during the school year.
I'm not surprised that most readers are older, middle aged women. I think also in kidlit that most books being published tend to appeal to girls more, despite how often editors/agents say they want more books for boys.
And if boys aren't into books as kids, will they suddenly pick them up as adults?

MirkaK said...

I read/listen to a huge quantity of books/audiobooks all year round, every year. I'd be lost without books. Getting my first library card during childhood was the biggest gift ever. Books enabled me to see what's possible, despite the circumstances a person finds herself facing. Even though I have the option of downloading books to read on my iPad, I prefer/love holding a book, flipping the pages, going back and forth if I need to. Reading online just isn't the same for me, but if it were the only way I could have books in my life (because I can't imagine life without them), I'd switch to on-screen reading in a heartbeat.

Kelly Hashway said...

I would love this! That should absolutely become a thing.

Barbara Etlin said...

That's a great idea, Mirka!

A friend of ours has always been a voracious reader. For the past couple of years his vision has declined and he's been getting audio books from the library. It's better than nothing, but he really misses the act of reading a real, printed book. I'm sad for him, both for the vision loss and the reading loss.

Katie L. Carroll said...

I'm all for getting more attention for this National Reading Month. Putting it on my calendar to make sure I bring some attention to it next year.

Evelyn said...

Great idea, Mirka! I come from a family of readers, but I agree that a lot of people don't read many books. July sounds like the perfect month.