How Many Books is It Feasible to Read Over a Lifetime?

Found at The Goodwill Librarian’s Facebook page


Depressing Bookish Factoid du Jour

A survey conducted by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences shows that the number of Americans reading a book for the sheer pleasure of it (vs., say, because they’ve been assigned to read one in school) is rapidly declining.

The age breakdowns for three different years since the early 1990s are depicted in this chart.

The fact that the most recent data are five years old doesn’t cheer us up much. On the contrary.

Found at Baby Got Books


Paris Readers Have Access to Twice as Many Public Libraries as the Planet’s Other Major Cities

According to an article in The Guardian, Among the findings of a recently-published study that compared institution-based cultural offerings of 12 cities worldwide:

“[Paris] has 830 public libraries compared to Shanghai’s 477, London’s 383, Tokyo’s 377, Johannesburg’s 234, New York’s 220, Sydney’s 154 and Berlin’s 88. Paris also has more bookshops – 1,025 to London’s 802, although Tokyo has the most (1,675); Shanghai has 1,322 and Johannesburg has 1,020.”

Found at Shelf Awareness

U.S. Poets to Be Honored on 2012 Postage Stamps

Ten 20th-Century American poets will appear on U.S.  postage stamps next year.

The poets selected are Elizabeth Bishop, Joseph Brodsky, Gwendolyn Brooks, E. E. Cummings, Robert Hayden, Denise Levertov, Sylvia Plath, Theodore Roethke, Wallace Stevens and William Carlos Williams.

These worthies will join a host of other authors previously featured on the postage stamps of the United States and other countries. In fact, there’s an entire website devoted to showcasing those stamps – as well as another website devoted to stamps featuring libraries.

Found at Shelf Awareness

How Much Time Each Day Do You Spend Reading?

Software developer and author Tim Patrick, aka The Well-Read Man, recently posted some summary data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ periodic survey of how Americans spend their time.

Among the findings that Tim noticed: 

  •  “On average, out of about five-plus hours of leisure time available to each person each day, Americans are reading around 20, maybe 25 minutes. This includes all forms of leisure reading, including magazines, blogs, and the backs of cereal boxes.”
  • “Older people read more than the youngest group, although even that group reads more than the thirtysomethings.”
  • “The rich outread the poor, and whites read about three times as much as those from the minority groups included in the statistics.”

[Tim credits the books-in-the-television image above to House of April, the blog of photographer April Chandler.]

Mark Twain Postage Stamp Debuts Tomorrow

According to a Los Angeles Times story, Mark Twain is being honored (for the second time) on a U.S. postage stamp.

The story also mentions the publication earlier this year of the bestselling – and massive – first volume of Twain’s Autobiography, which is currently available in public libraries. As are, of course, the many books – fiction and nonfiction – that Twain wrote.

Found via Shelf Awareness