Who are our readers? (DOG EAR) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 16 January 2014 00:00

This question actually perplexes me.

Who reads our books? Not only our blockbuster, publishing-house-backed books, but our little indie books.

Have you ever looked over your fellow citizens, wondering who reads?

Those heavyset man-children who wear flipflops and a ballcap into restaurants?

The arrested youth who define our movies as simplistic drivel requiring only minimal attention to follow and only a touch more to predict?

And desperately unhappy political worrywart? That Walmart black Friday pre-dawn shopper? The self-proclaimed over-stressed working mother?

There is a 90% illiteracy rate in the poorer district in town.

The bookshelves (limited as they are, pressed on all sides by neo-entertainments) are packed with Harry Potter young-adult rubbish.

Do people read anymore?

I’ve met so few readers. My father. Marylyn on our river cruise. Karen who runs the book club in my mom’s condo. The guy minding the counter at Slightly Foxed Used Books. So few people read, and those that do stick in their narrow selections – thrillers, action, and young adult (rather a self-insult if you are an adult habitual-offender here).

Who reads the older books, classics from times long ago? Who reads the new books, stories from new writers with fresh voices and interesting takes? You just don’t meet people who know Huck Finn, Long John Silver, d'Artagnan. Not many people read and reflect upon the work just finished with others who've read it prior. So few have a home library.

I remember being told that I should write to an audience. In a spirit of pessimism, I’m really not sure what that audience is anymore. Have they all died out?

Keep writing. Keep reading. Keep the spark alive.

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Comments  

 
0 #1 Karen from Sandcastl 2014-01-17 08:08
Robert, I want to reassure you that those readers are out there. They go to the library, trade books at school, go to the bookstore and peruse "books like this" on Amazon, and make selections based on their perusals. They may not always read what you do, but they read what they like. I thought like you did until I started working at an indie bookstore and teaching middle school. There are readers out there from all walks of life. Some read esoteric books and others start with Danielle Steele, Harlequin romances, and other formulaic novels. But they graduate to more literate and discerning books. Kinda like book "training wheels". Anyway, I just wanted you to know that there are lots of us out there just waiting for the next magical book to transport us elsewhere. And we have J K Rowling to thank for the thousands and thousands of kids who are now reading, waiting for their next novel "high". Thank you for contributing to the array of books to choose from.
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0 #2 admin 2014-01-18 11:55
Karen, I appreciate the feedback. Occasionally I find myself in maudlin moods and just write what I feel. But still, it isn't too hard to look around and the empty faces that fill our streets and offices and wonder where the readers are.

In my corporate office, with something like 300 employees, not a one of them read. It's strange and discouraging.

Actually, I'm getting to get ready to post another blog (for a couple weeks out) about introducing a friend to a book, and having him go wild over it.
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0 #3 exercises to get 2014-06-09 14:25
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