Read a book

Pew on the book-reading habits of Americans.  I’m not sure if I should be encouraged or discouraged that roughly 3/4 of Americans read a book in the past year:

Also, a great example of skewed data and the very different results from using mean or median:

Overall, Americans read an average (mean) of 12 books per year, while the typical (median) American has read four books in the past 12 months. Each of these figures is largely unchanged since 2011, when the Center first began conducting the surveys of Americans’ book reading habits.

As for me, looks like I’ve completed about 14 books in the past year (fortunately, I could check my Amazon history and confirm that I ordered Sapiens exactly a year ago) and started another 4-5 that weren’t worth continuing.

One of these days, I’m going to get my hopelessly outdated reading list up to date again.  I’m still keeping pretty good track of what I’ve read, just not getting it into the webpage.

Also, for what it’s worth, I’m currently reading my first ever e-book, Children of Time.  It’s fine, still prefer a “real” book, but it was only $.99 for the e-book and much to my dismay, the local library system does not carry it.  Oh, and it’s a terrific science fiction book.


About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

3 Responses to Read a book

  1. Graham says:

    Sapiens has come up twice on the blog this week and I’m very close to checking it out this weekend.

  2. Nicole K. says:

    Sapiens also influenced me significantly. I really loved the concept of inter-subjective reality that only exists in our collective imaginations. I’ve probably listened to the entire audiobook 5 or 6 times. I had high hopes for its follow up Homo Deus. But although I enjoyed it, it wasn’t nearly as profound or meaningful for me.

    I’ve also listened to several hundred complete unabridged nonfiction and fiction audiobooks in the last year and at least 50 since the beginning of the new year. Audiobooks are basically a pretty constant thing for me if I’m not doing something else or if I’m doing something mindless. I listen to audiobooks significantly more than I watch TV or movies or any other type of entertainment. I developed the habit when I was incapacitated with narcolepsy and excessive daytime sleepiness, and I’ve only increased my consumption of them since getting that under control. I’ve even turned most of my college textbooks into audiobooks via text to speech, and that’s how I keep up with most of the assigned reading in my classes. I strongly prefer audiobooks despite being able to read printed text at about 500 words per minute or 800 if I use RSVP (rapid serial visual presentation aka Spritz).

    But if I’m going to read an actual book instead of listening, I’ll take ebooks over printed books every time. They take up no space and I can use tools like RSVP to read them very quickly. I read almost all of the NYT daily using RSVP, and I wouldn’t read it any other way.

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