It’s a common lament that people read less today than in years past. In a recent Roger Ebert column, he quotes that the average American teenager spends 17 minutes/weekend in voluntary reading. Perhaps, as Ebert contends, this statistic only includes “serious” novels whereas all manner of reading should be counted.
I think averages such as these fall over time only because we just have more and more and more people. I would contend that we have more people in aggregate who read a lot than we did 50 years ago. It’s also that we have many more people in aggregate who don’t read much.
Perhaps this leads to a rising aristocracy of the intelligentsia. Or in the converse, an idiocracy. But for now, I think I’ll concentrate on the fact that are likely more well-read individuals in aggregate than there were in years past.