woman reading a book

A recent report on participation in the arts, by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), says that the percentage of U.S. readers has dropped over the past five years.

In 2017, 52.7 percent of U.S. adults were book readers. But in 2022, this figure was only 48.5 percent.

In 2017, 44.2 percent of U.S. adults were readers of novels, short stories, poetry, or plays. But in 2022, this figure was only 39.6 percent.

This was a surprise to me, as I had heard that book buying was popular during the pandemic. But it seems that while readers read books, nonreaders did not; and some former readers became nonreaders.

In my experience, there is nothing like book reading for gaining an in-depth, nuanced understanding of our world. When book reading is replaced by other media, something essential is often lost. When Internet articles and social media takes are created for the purpose of gaining clicks, accuracy is often sacrificed for popularity. I’d rather learn the truth—or at least something approximating it—than merely the latest trend that may or may not be true. And truths about our world can be found in not only nonfiction, but also novels, short stories, poetry, and plays. That’s why I read books.

But I’m preaching to the choir!

What was the last book you read?