My friend and fellow editor Drew sent me this librarian's assessment of the state of reading among young people.
"I became a school librarian because I loved books and wanted to bring the joy of reading to young people. . . . Silly me. Young people no longer read for pleasure, and libraries are no longer places to discover great works of literature and biography and history. We librarians now exist solely to help bored students maximize their database searches, so they can complete papers and assignments in minimal time. When students do check out a book on, say, Jane Austen or Thomas Jefferson, they don’t actually read it; they check it back in the next day, having copied down what they need to cite the book as a 'source.' My fellow librarians and I still try to 'entice young minds and bring them to the reading table,' but to no avail. Most teenagers regard reading a book as some strange and unpleasant ritual from the distant past. I recently tried to coax one senior into reading Dickens’ Bleak House, promising that if she read just one page, she wouldn’t be able put it down. She took one look at the book, coolly assessing its hundreds of pages, and said, 'I think I’ll watch the DVD.'"
--Thomas Washington, "Washington Post," cited in "The Week," February 2, 2007, p. 14
If you're one of those weirdos who still reads, why do you do it?
If you've dismissed reading as "strange and unpleasant," convince me why I should give up on books.