There has been a measurable cultural change in society’s commitment to literary reading. In a cultural moment when we are hearing nothing but bad news, we have reassuring evidence that the dumbing down of our culture is not inevitable ...
says Dana Gioia, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, in The New York Times. A new report, Reading on the Rise: A New Chapter in American Literacy, shows that adults are now reading more literary works than they did previously.
Factors that helped reverse "the perilous decline" (recorded in the Endowment's previous study four years ago) include a programme called The Big Read :
... to encourage communities to champion the reading of particular books, like “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald and “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston.
(The complete list of books for The Big Read is here and would make a great guide for anyone wanting to make a start on becoming a more convinced reader - do take a look!)
Oprah Winfrey’s book club, the huge popularity of book series like “Harry Potter” and Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight,” as well as the individual efforts of teachers, librarians, parents and civic leaders to create “a buzz around literature that’s getting people to read more in whatever medium.”And we in Malaysia, of course, have something very important to learn from this!