This article by Michael Rogers was brought to my attention a few days ago. It puts forth the idea that in the future the need to analyze and extrapolate a complex book will not be a skill that most people need.
It’s time to acknowledge that in a truly multimedia environment of 2025, most Americans don’t need to understand more than a hundred or so words at a time, and certainly will never read anything approaching the length of an old-fashioned book.
It is hard to tell whether the author is kidding…for example:
The nation’s leaders must be able to read; for those who follow, the ability should be strictly optional.
In any case, this is a subject that I am passionate about. I remember arguing with my high school English teachers over the choice of reading material, whether it was Grendel or Catcher in the Rye (not that my teachers had any control, it was set up by the school district).
(used book store back home)
I was raised to love books, to dive into a 600 page book with no thought to the fact that it was bigger than my head. I tend toward fantasy & sci-fi, but love everything else nearly as much. I would not have the ability to write as I do, the ability to edit documents and read as fast as I do if I had not been encouraged from a very early age to read anything I could get my hands on.
It isn’t necessarily that someone must be a “book-worm” to learn to enjoy reading. Kids are often given books that are boring in school, forced to read things in class that they can’t connect to, and thus the process of reading is turned into a chore.