Sunday, February 08, 2009

North-South Divide in Reading Tastes

I was really quite intrigued to learn that what's termed The North-South Divide in Britain extends to choices in fiction too :
...with southerners slavishly following the recommendations of chatshow hosts Richard & Judy while northerners studiously ignore them ...
The Daily Telegraph reports that:
A study of (library) lending habits shows that Richard Madeley and his co-presenter and wife Judy Finnigan have had a "profound" effect on the books people choose to read. But while libraries across the south of England illustrate a dogged following of the couple's advice, further north, readers prefer crime thrillers and traditional romance novels. ... Books recommended by Richard & Judy accounted for more than 50 per cent of titles appearing in the list of the top 10 most borrowed books in London, the south east, south west and east Midlands. But none of the books they suggested appeared in the top 10 for Wales, the north east, northern Ireland, north west or Scotland. Readers in these areas preferred crime novels and thrillers by authors such as the American crime writers James Patterson and Michael Connelly.
But as Jack Malven in The Times points out, the power of Richard and Judy as arbiters of literary taste is on the wane :
During their heyday on Channel 4 they commanded the attention of 3 million viewers, but their move last year to Watch, a non-terrestrial channel, has reduced their audience to as little as 12,000 — fewer than a programme about train journeys in Switzerland.

16 comments:

Amir said...

For Malay movies, there is a North-South divide too. Films that do well in JB invariably don't do well in Sungai Petani, and vice versa. As for books, dunno lah.

bibliobibuli said...

that's fascinating too, Amir. i'm curious - which films did best those places and why do you think there is a difference? does the proximity of singapore make johorians that bit more sophisiticated?

Anonymous said...

why do you say that johorians are more "sophisticated" than northeners?. as a northener (and east coast northerner somemore) i'm offended.

i read it differently. there is a north south devide among wogs in malaysia. the greatest concentration being at the centre.

ah pong

Anonymous said...

Ah Pong, glad you've shown your sophistication.

Anonymous said...

actually i'm very primitive and i like it to be that way thanks.

ah pong

bibliobibuli said...

ah pong - well i would expect a rural/urban divide in reading/film watching habits, but not a north/south one

and you are sophisticated! LOL

Amir said...

"Susuk" and "Mukhsin" were 'JB movies'

"Duyung" and "Senario" were 'Sungai Petani' movies.

Those sometimes clever people in the marketing department sometimes manage to guess correctly, even before the films are released. In fact, they can tell even by looking at the posters.

Anonymous said...

i guess it's correct to say 'muhsin' vs 'senario' fans reflect urban/rural divide but not neccessarily north/south one.

i think sungai petani is kuch kuch hota hai kind of town.

not sure where susuk fits in though...

ah pong

Anonymous said...

I think Ah Pong is right (again). Funny that he can say "wog" and no one jumps on him here. That's another thing, people really don't make an effort to find out what they don't know.

Anyway, there's not only a rural/urban divide, there's sometimes an education divide (English/Malay/Chinese education) and cultural divide (Malay/Chinese fundamentalists.) Indian culture is more porous, they usually assimilate easier than the other major cultures, so there really aren't any Indian fundamentalists here (or most anywhere in the world come to think of it.)

Anonymous said...

Oh, my dear Anonymous, just how full of yourself do you have to be to think nobody here but you knows the word "wog"?!? Haha! You so funny lah. But actually, speaking only for myself, I can tell you that I ignore all Ah Pong's opinions about race and religion because I've seen enough of them to know that reason isn't going to change his mind.

Even funnier, Anonymous, are your authoritative pronouncements about Cultures. No Indian fundamentalists!! Have you ever considered stand-up comedy?

-- Preeta

Anonymous said...

preeta is right actually. nobody can change my mind on anything until i feel that i'm proven wrong on anything.

that is not to say that i'm right but just that i sometimes feel that some people are more wrong than me.

ah pong

Anonymous said...

Preeta -

I said nobody jumped on him, not nobody knew. Also, insulting me doesn't prove me wrong.

Ah Pong -

At least you get ignored. I should be so lucky :P

Anonymous said...

"I said nobody jumped on him, not nobody knew."

Really? I could've sworn I cut and pasted this from your message, but maybe I WROTE it in a trance:

"people really don't make an effort to find out what they don't know."

-- PS

Anonymous said...

i like being ignored and insulted.

ah pong

Anonymous said...

Preeta -

I get tired of explaining myself, but just because they know doesn't mean they will jump on him. What I meant was, the people that ALREADY KNEW didn't jump on him. So I'm basically talking about two types of people here, the people that KNOW (who didn't jump on him) and the people that DIDN'T KNOW (who didn't jump on him.)

The people that knew, that didn't jump on him, are not "nobody". Therefore (see you made me use a therefore :P) it can't be said that I said "nobody knew" because the people that knew that didn't jump on him, they're people too.

Anyway, like all art, it's open to interpretation :)

PS. I don't think you're the sole arbiter of "reason", do you? I think the world is more complex than that.

Ah Pong -

Not at the same time, I hope. I don't think it's possible for someone to both ignore and insult you at once :) or maybe if you're insulted by being ignored :)

Anonymous said...

you're too clever for me preeta...(as a man) i feel insulted ...
ah pong