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Bigger is Badder

From Pew Research Center:

SEPTEMBER 26, 2019
Who doesn’t read books in America?

Roughly a quarter of U.S. adults (27%) say they haven’t read a book in whole or in part in the past year, whether in print, electronic or audio form, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted Jan. 8 to Feb. 7. Who are these non-book readers?

Several demographic traits correlate with non-book reading, Pew Research Center surveys have found. For instance, adults with a high school diploma or less are far more likely than those with a bachelor’s or advanced degree to report not reading books in any format in the 12 months before the survey (44% vs. 8%). Adults with lower levels of educational attainment are also among the least likely to own smartphones, a device that saw a substantial increase in usage for reading e-books from 2011 to 2016. (College-educated adults are more likely to own these devices and use them to read e-books.)

Adults whose annual household income is $30,000 or less are more likely than those living in households earning $75,000 or more a year to be non-book readers (36% vs. 14%). Hispanic (40%) and black (33%) adults are more likely than whites (22%) to report not having read a book in the past 12 months. But there are differences between Hispanics born inside and outside the United States: 56% of foreign-born Hispanics report not having read a book, compared with 27% of Hispanics born in the U.S.

… The share of Americans who report not reading any books in the past 12 months is higher today than it was nearly a decade ago – though there has been some fluctuation over this time period. Today, 27% of adults say they have not read any books in the past year, up from 19% in 2011, but identical to the share who said this in 2015.

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  1. I think this poll is measuring nothing beyond what groups attach an importance to reading. Hispanics simply being the most honest of all. I’m in that young demographic and of my peers, most of which have graduate degrees and make over 70k/year, I’ve yet to see them read, talk about a book, or even carry a book.

    I can’t get my peers, friends, roommates, or family to read a long email or a news article longer than the typical Reddit post. The idea of them sitting down and reading an entire book is comical.

  2. theMann says:

    Functional illiteracy- Immigrants doing yet another job Americans just won’t do!

    • LOL: Amerimutt Golems
    • Replies: @Amerimutt Golems
  3. Kronos says:

    Do “Audible” audiobooks count? It’s just a lot easier to multitask that way.

    • Replies: @res
    , @El Dato
    , @Cagey Beast
    , @Lurker
  4. songbird says:

    The real percentage of those who don’t read has to be significantly higher than the self-reported one.

    • Agree: Kronos
  5. res says:

    That article links to some more details. Here is the breakdown (percentages) by the number of books read in the last 12 months.

    Number of books read | percent
    None 27
    1 6
    2-3 14
    4-5 9
    6-10 14
    11-20 13
    >20 15
    Don’t know 1
    Refused *

    Here is a 2016 version with more detail (e.g. print, audio, and electronic books broken out separately). Don’t know if a more recent version of this is available.

  6. res says:

    Yes. From the methodology link:

    BOOKS1 During the past 12 months, about how many BOOKS did you read either all or part of the way through? Please include any print, electronic, or audiobooks you may have read or listened to.

    Also note the “part of the way through” bit.

  7. Altai says:

    OT: Disney cringe.

    3 white female characters, 3 non-white models to portray them.

    ABC is, of course, owned by Disney so every bit of this was controlled by their PR. What I love most about it is that everyone, including the person who proposed finding the darkest black girl they could find to be Elsa knows this is cringe. Yet because American society and particularly PR meetings make arguing against it impossible, the idea will win out the second it is proposed.

    They’re so far gone they deliberately got a black girl and an Asian girl to play Elsa and Anna. And then topped it off by finding a Hispanic girl to play Rey. (And her brother to play the stormtrooper?) They know this doesn’t help their brand by looking silly and over the top but they feel compelled to do it anyway because they have no mechanism to turn back from any escalation of ‘diversity’.

    • Replies: @obwandiyag
  8. Steve and Ron read books so we don’t have to.

    Steve, Michelle Obama’s Becoming, what’s that all about?

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  9. El Dato says:

    most of which have graduate degrees and make over 70k/year, I’ve yet to see them read, talk about a book, or even carry a book.

    No wonder civilization is rapidly circling the drain. Pretend money for pretend work done by pretend degree holder with brain filled with distraction bullshit.

    I can’t get my peers, friends, roommates, or family to read a long email or a news article longer than the typical Reddit post. The idea of them sitting down and reading an entire book is comical.

    It’s much less comical when the guy in charge of reliability engineering tells you that he’s not into books.

  10. Anon[141] • Disclaimer says:

    The amount of actual readers is low for the same reason people self-report that they don’t drink that much booze. Book sales from publishing companies and library checkouts are the only data you can trust.

  11. Jesse says:

    Nah, can’t see it. What would be more interesting would be to raise the bar and see who finishes a significant number of books in a year, and what demographics they fall into.

  12. I don’t read many books these days, but yesterday I read one, Kitty Kelly’s unauthorized biography of Oprah Winfrey that I got for $1, a fair price.

    I quite like Kelly’s bios, but this one did not do much for me, probably because Oprah is not a very interesting (to me) subject–the usual story of intense ambition when young, then hopelessly corrupted by extreme wealth, paranoia about privacy, and the pursuit of more wealth at all costs.

    I am also flipping through a couple of cookbooks and a book on electronic circuits, and have recently read several first grade reading books aloud.

  13. It’s sad that the bar is set so low that reading a single book a year is the cutoff between the literate and the non-literate (illiterate?)

    I’m pretty sure I read at least 50 books in the past year, but I’m retired and, frankly, a misanthrope. I find the idea of people in the abstract more appealing than in person, in most cases.

    Maybe if these people cracked a book or two, they’d have something to talk about other that “AAAGGGHHH TRRRRUUUUMMMMPPPPPP!!!!!!!”

  14. @Jonathan Mason

    Kitty Kelly’s unauthorized biography of Oprah Winfrey that I got for $1, a fair price.

    If it’s missing the second E in “Kelley”, it’s doubly unauthorized and not even worth those eight bits!

    Was the cover still on?

  15. peterike says:

    Also note the “part of the way through” bit.

    Lol! Well I did look at the cover of a book when I was picking up a macchiato in the book store cafe. That counts, right?

  16. Anonymous[190] • Disclaimer says:

    The high school and vo tech guys I work with are frequent readers, but of books I doubt these authorities care about-DIY and hobby tech stuff, IT certification books, but nothing of a very heavy nature.

    The college guys are engineers or finance, accounting people who mostly only read professionally. Between 60 hours at work and families they have no time.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  17. Anonymous[190] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jonathan Mason

    If you’re at the appropriate level I highly recommend Robert Pease and Jim Williams for electronic design. They are also both engaging writers with good stories to tell.

  18. Does Cosmopolitan count as a book?

    I have a four year college degree plus cont. ed. certifications in diverse areas. I don’t have a smarty phone. I’m fed up with tech, new passwords, protocols and on line scams. I still write about a dozen paper checks a month. My book reading habits are bipolar–i.e. binge reading of numerous unrelated books followed by extended periods of no book reading.

    What does that make me?

    • LOL: jim jones
  19. notsaying says:

    These numbers are too high if you’re going measure real general reading. I’d like to see the figures if you asked people to exclude religious books like the Bible or Torah or books read to children.

    I also don’t think audiobooks should be counted but I suppose there are some people who really do pay close attention to them vs. using them just to pass the time.

    • Replies: @Barnard
    , @Daniel Williams
  20. @AnotherComment

    I gotta agree with this. I don’t see much evidence that even a majority of educated people read the occasional book.

    • Replies: @Daniel Williams
    , @Pericles
  21. Andrew says:

    I think these numbers are fake and the actual percentages are much higher for not reading.

    When I go around to other houses in my upper middle class neighborhood, literally nobody has any books at all in their house. It’s very rare to find a house with even a single bookshelf, let alone a traditional library.

    How are you supposed to read books if you don’t own any and never go to the library or the bookstore? I have a hard time believing such people are reading everything on a Kindle. You never seem them doing that either.

    • Agree: HammerJack
    • Replies: @NOTA
  22. Latino culture is heavily anti-bookish. Yes there have been very good Spanish writers (Borges, Cervantes) but these tend to be of full Europan blood not mestizos

    • Replies: @Ian Smith
  23. SGOTI says:

    a) Books must be racist;
    b) I average 2-3 books per week. Maybe I should just watch sportsball.

    • Replies: @Ron Mexico
  24. Brobert says:

    Anecdotally, I can say many millennial white women I know are prodigious readers of literary dreck, but I agree that, on the whole, answers to polls like this are next to worthless other than as a way to quantify how many people still think it important to appear to be a reader.

  25. if we are not listening to e-books, then at least that wont contribute to road fatalities caused by distracted reading…..
    btw what sort of books, if any, can the steve-o-spehre listen to while driving? Frankly, I cannot multi task with reading and driving…..

    Fortunately the self-driving car revolution should spur a renaissance in reading among the population as the AI systems drive the car. I make that optimistic prediction based upon how internet technology has closed the inter-ethnic group performance gaps, and not merely been a new medium for porn and natural stupidity. /s

    • Replies: @The new vague
    , @Ian M.
  26. El Dato says:


    There are no people who “multitask”.

    There are only people who think they “multitask”, which means doing everything equally badly.

    All this new-age self-improvement fake crap for underage girls (mental, not bodily) is getting SO on my nerves.

    • Replies: @NOTA
  27. Jesse says:

    You’d be surprised. I do most of my reading on my phone, with a Kindle app. I’m sure I just look like I’m scrolling through my phone, but there’s probably more reading going on than you’d think.

    It’s easier to carry around, and you look less antisocial than if you take out a book. And no one knows what you’re reading, so a lot of people are reading vast amounts of romance or Westerns, or whatever niche they like, so there’s less of a common culture to discuss them with.

    Plus, we’re not talking about people reading voraciously. We’re talking about reading even part of one book in the past year.

  28. jcd1974 says:

    I am skeptical of these numbers. With few exceptions (and I’m one of them – always have a couple of books on the go) no one reads today.

    The one demographic that used to read a lot but reads nothing now is college students (except for assigned reading). When I was in school everyone read Bonfire of the Vanities and the Right Stuff. Now the only only universally read books are the Harry Potter series which kids read in junior high. By the time they get to college they have stopped reading for pleasure.

  29. J.Ross says:

    Who here hasn’t read as many books as they planned this year? I’m still stacking and organizing all the recommendations I’ve gotten fron here (the physical ones; remember, internet Russians are your friends, and there’s b-ok); I recently found Bostrom’s Superintelligence mislaid under three analyses of the Kitty Genovese murder.

  30. Jesse says:
    @William Badwhite

    Black women read more romance, especially of the ‘urban’ kind, than anyone else. And good for them.

    Remember, this is about the most basic level of reading for pleasure. Even part of one book in the past year counts.

  31. J.Ross says:

    HARD MODE, SPECIAL OPERATING THETAN EDITION: did you go look up every term, process, historical event, and person new or not instantly familiar to you, and re-read sections to ensure that your understanding flowed with the prose?

  32. Forbes says:

    Agreed. I have two friends who read as voraciously as I do. The rest don’t seem to read at all. Most people appear to stop reading once their formal schooling is finished–except for the occasional trash pop culture phenom.

  33. “Books” are moribund. “How many books have you read” used to be a stand in for intellectual involvement, but in 2019 if you’re reading iSteve and Mencius Moldbug and the like, that doesn’t show up in “read a book” but it’s clearly intellectually engaged

    • Replies: @anonymous
  34. Whitney says:

    Yeah book stores are not a big deal in Mexico except for english-language ones for the expats.

  35. @William Badwhite

    They probably misunderstood the question, and thought they were being asked if they had “booked” in the last year (black like to drop the tiresome past tenses from some words) or in other words, ran away suddenly.

  36. J.Ross says:
    @William Badwhite

    There is a black popular book culture. It doesn’t include books a lot of people here would approve of given the subject matter or the language difficulty level (or historical accuracy), but they move copies, and there’s no reason to doubt that they get read cover to cover.
    It’s like the Madea movies being a whole industry with white people not even being aware of it.

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
    , @NOTA
  37. @res

    You can generally get to the heart of many nonfiction books by reading the first and the last chapters.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    , @Kronos
  38. @William Badwhite

    I wish I could find the study – I should make a habit of downloading things because inconvenient information seems to be harder and harder to find through search – but the #1 predictor of lying on self-reporting surveys is…

    Survey says!

    Being black.

    • LOL: Bill P
  39. I don’t read books anymore. I only read iSteve.

    • Agree: bomag

  40. ….

    well, more hip than this ogre

  41. anonymous[185] • Disclaimer says:

    Number of readers seems inflated judging by everyday observation. There are no bookstores in Hispanic or black neighborhoods except for religious outlets or the occasional crackpot Afro-centric offerings. Hispanic and black reading participation is about zero with only the white-acting nerd types doing so. With whites it appears to be getting lower as more seem to be limited to Twitter length material. Also, when discussing reading do celebrity biographies, Harlequin romance novels, diet books, cookbooks, new age stuff and other such lightweight books count as reading? I’ve met a heck of a lot of people who I don’t believe have read a book since getting out of school, college as well as lesser. Those who are readers read; then there’s everybody else.

  42. @Kronos

    I like audio books too but I also find myself searching online to read parts of the text. An awful lot of passages are too densely written to work well as audio.

    • Replies: @Kronos
  43. J.Ross says:

    A witty professor (who may have been serious or satirical, or both) once told a groaning idiot class that they could cut through their reading by just looking at the first and last paragraphs, provided they understood them. If that didn’t work, the first and last chapters or sections. If that didn’t work, the first and last paragraphs of each chapter. If that didn’t work, the first three and last three paragraphs of each chapter.
    It is true that in some nonfiction writing, respectable executive summaries bookend a jaunt in a direction you don’t need but which the author thought was interesting.

    • Replies: @Anon
  44. @songbird

    I’m sure you’re right. The criterion was “having read a book in whole or in part”. Well, that covers a lot — even people who read just one page.

    I think those numbers are a more accurate measure of how many people know what the word book/libro means.

  45. Mike1 says:

    Comical is the right word. Very few people read and of those that claim to, they “read” audio-books.

    I asked to borrow some books from someone in the last week that made a convincing show of reading. In the end they came up with a story that all the books they had were left behind when they moved from another country!

    If you want to kick this up a notch lets talk about reading research. If I say “the research I’ve read leans this way” it means I’ve read multiple papers on the topic and am fairly good at picking bs. When most people say something like that it means they’ve read a Yahoo header. This applies across education levels and definitely includes prestige college graduates.

  46. I must admit, I too have not read a book in Audio format in the past year.

  47. Barnard says:

    That’s what I was wondering too, how many counted either reading from the Bible or another religious book or books to small children. Someone who read two chapters of Harry Potter and gave up and decided to watch the movies instead would count as a reader too. No way it should be this high.

  48. Kronos says:

    You know who else did that? Hitler.

  49. Kronos says:
    @Cagey Beast

    And you can’t describe graphs. You have to find the corresponding pdf.

    • Agree: Cagey Beast
  50. @Jonathan Mason

    Jonathan Mason writes, “I … have recently read several first grade reading books aloud.”
    Why aloud?

    • Replies: @NOTA
  51. Cortes says:

    It used to cheese me off that so many of my university classmates wouldn’t read ANY set texts and relied on “guides” , critical essays and bullshitting to achieve some kind of half-arsed pass.

    In retrospect they were right. Outside the specialist WGAF about Don Quixote? Or El Cid (Heston rocked/stank…)

    Picture the scene as the ancient College of Augurs closes its final session: what about the chicken bones? And who will read the entrails?

    The world rolls on.

    And one question remains: Should the bad guy enter the scene From or To the Left?

  52. @William Badwhite

    They probably thought “book” includes “comic book.”

    • Replies: @Jonathan Mason
  53. @Inquiring Mind

    Can you imagine if high schoolers discovered his website and started using his arguments in class and in discussions at school? What an explosion across the nation that would cause!

    • Replies: @Justvisiting
  54. @Gary in Gramercy

    They probably thought “book” includes “comic book.”

    Farm laborers in England 50 years ago certainly referred to publications like Playboy and similar as a “book”.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  55. @notsaying

    I also don’t think audiobooks should be counted but I suppose there are some people who really do pay close attention to them vs. using them just to pass the time.

    I used an audiobook of the Beard’s Basic History of the United States as my only text to prepare for the CLEP US History test. I passed very easily.

    I also listened to and liked Lolita (read by Jeremy Irons), an abridged Gibbon, the Iliad, Paradise Lost, and other long poems. They’re good company when you’re driving.

  56. Here’s what I’ve mostly finished in past two & a half months (and some re-reading); also, although I understood the math, did not find the Wallace book on multi too rewarding…

    Highly recommended for physicists & similar bunch

    Very readable, don’t be intimidated..

    These guys very not lucky enough to live until Hollywood

    Nice pictures…

    Bloom’s last & worst

    Very accessible, but, that’s what you already know from archaic eastern cosmologies

    Jung’s dirty laundry

    Einstein for layman

    Guilty pleasure

    Still worth reading

    The best of western death

    Clear (although a bit slanted) exposition- also, completely mathless:


    All 5 books compressed into one; the best so far (except Mochulsky)


  57. Bill says:

    Agree. The idea that 70+% of US adults have read a book in the prior 12 months is completely absurd.

    • Replies: @Adam Smith
  58. @Pincher Martin

    I don’t see much evidence that even a majority of educated people read the occasional book.

    Then by what conceivable standard can they be considered educated? Or even civilized?

    • Replies: @Pincher Martin
    , @Pericles
  59. Just as college is not for everyone (not even in Bernie Sanders fantasy world would college be a good fit for everyone), reading books is not for everyone. Some people are poor readers or unskilled readers, some people are too busy or can’t be bothered, and lots of people simply don’t enjoy this particular activity.

    This is not a problem.

    The only time a problem arises is when people who are not serious readers come to believe that their opinions about serious matters carry equal weight with the opinions of people who are.

    Unfortunately in this country, that problem is with us 24/7/365.

    • Replies: @Corvinus
  60. SafeNow says:

    So when a poll responder reads a book “in part” it counts, but when I read, in its entirety, a long, complex essay on this webzine, it does NOT count? This seems like an unfair “over-inclusive and under-inclusive” situation. The great majority the highly educated people I know are so perfunctory, so brusque in their manner, that I cannot imagine them reading the entire label on a medication bottle let alone an entire book.

  61. @William Badwhite

    A whole lot of blacks read scripture and daily devotionals, assuming that counts.

  62. JimB says:

    From my observations, few college educated Chinese read books. When they aren’t staring into a laptop doing work, they are playing video games, gambling online, or watching TV. Hobbies, what are those?

  63. Paul Rise says:

    For several years in Laredo, Texas, there were no new or used book stores anywhere in the city – I believe this was around 2013 – 2013. Not sure if they ever attracted a retailer to fill the void or if anyone noticed

  64. @William Badwhite

    There’s an extensive and parallel black publishing environment churning out books because blacks read a lot, but their tastes are towards black-centric ghost stories, Christian or Nation of Islam self-help and “I was lost but now am found” potboilers, black-centric romance, and alternative/nonstandard history and sociology.

    Some of the banned books Unz hosts here come out of that milieu, which is a mix of small presses and self-publishers and goes back decades.

  65. @Jonathan Mason

    Farm laborers in England 50 years ago certainly referred to publications like Playboy and similar as a “book”.

    My shipmates 40 years ago called those f***books.

    The writing (in Playboy) and reportage (in the sleazier competition) often was very good– thanks to the huge paychecks the ads made available to freelance writers.

    Some Pagliaesque kinda-feminist recently argued that those publications weren’t about sex, but consumption. She nailed it. Looking at naked girls in glossies was nice, but owning that high-end stereo system got real girls naked in your pad.

    • Replies: @Cortes
    , @Jonathan Mason
  66. Logan says:

    Due to my line of work, I’m constantly in homes doing inspection. Most of those homes belong to middle to upper class people.

    I am constantly amazed at how many of them have no books at all in the home. And of those who do have books, a great many of them are of the self-help or romance variety.

  67. newrouter says:

    Would reading a year’s worth of Ron Unz essays constitute a book?

    • Replies: @Pericles
  68. 6dust6 says:

    There are way too many books written nowadays. And how many are really worth reading?

  69. Cortes says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    Wankbooks in the UK in the 1970s.

    Jizrags may be the term of art nowadays although the definitive answer can be found in the wonderful’s_Profanisaurus

  70. Sad, they don’t say Which Books.

    I’d prefer someone who doesn’t read to someone whose only read Karl Marx.

    And someone who just reads Romance novels, or SF, or detective stories, or cookbooks might as well not read any books.

  71. @Reg Cæsar

    Some Pagliaesque kinda-feminist recently argued that those publications weren’t about sex, but consumption. She nailed it.

    Yes, I remember reading a copy of Playboy circa 1965, and while the centerfold pictures were certainly of great interest to me at the age of 14, even then I saw the whole magazine as a lifestyle magazine that promoted a sophisticated style somewhat similar to another hero of mine at the time, James Bond, who at the time was swanning around the French riviera in a Bentley convertible, and playing baccarat in Monte Carlo, while smoking Morland cigarettes with the double gold band, and wearing shirts made of Sea Island cotton with a navy blue blazer, and running around with chicks with suggestive names like Plenty O’Toole–which was pretty much what I aspired to.

    Playboy thus gave me a very misleading impression of the America that I later came to know, as did Catcher In The Rye.

    Many years later, possibly around 1997, I obtained another copy of Playboy and found that it was now an extremely tawdry sex magazine that no longer had any appeal to sophisticates like my 14-year-old self.

  72. @AnotherComment

    It may also be measuring the number of people who are too illiterate to read the survey question.

    • Replies: @Laurence Whelk
  73. @Jonathan Mason

    I am also flipping through a couple of cookbooks and a book on electronic circuits, and have recently read several first grade reading books aloud.

    Do comic books, children’s books, and coffee table picture books count in the survey?

  74. @Jonathan Mason

    I too only “read” Playboy for the articles.

    • Replies: @Kronos
  75. @William Badwhite

    I call BS that 67% of blacks have read a book in the past 12 months, in any format.

    Maybe they thought it included “being booked.”

    • LOL: Laurence Whelk, Kylie
  76. tl;dr

    Sorry, what was your point?

  77. Listening to an audiobook (passive) is not reading (active). It’s basically the same as listening to the radio or listening to a podcast only it’s longer. Not that there is no merit to audiobooks (I listen to bunches of them), but it’s not reading, it’s being read to – you know, like your Mom did for you when you were eight. The guy doing the audiobook is reading – you are not.

    It’s not reading.

    Also, with regard to the numbers in the Pew survey, people lie. A lot.

    • Replies: @Stick
  78. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @The Practical Conservative

    Small press and selbstbauverlag efforts are often not included in publication such as Bowker’s Books In Print and are ignored by review houses, including technical books, religious titles catering to particular denominations or viewpoints, reprint houses for abandoned or now public domain books as well as new titles by radioactive authors, and which collectively account for a lot of books. I love to look through used bookstores and thrift store shelves for these. Often you may be looking at the sole or very rare survivor of a 500-2500 book press run.

    Often these tell extremely interesting stories. Libraries won’t buy them and if they are donated or otherwise find their way into a collection will usually be weeded by the next librarian. They can be extemely narrow in their interest and may tend to be discarded when interest runs out in the subject.

  79. Most books are ‘way too long.

    What with my iPad and the web, I’m sure I’m reading more than I ever have. I’m also sure that I’m reading fewer books than I used to. No loss. Books are just one way of packaging information, words and images. Often there are better ways.

    • Agree: HammerJack
  80. Anon[203] • Disclaimer says:

    Traditional information retrieval relevancy ranking systems, pre-internet, did give more weight to search terms found in first and last paragraphs. There is research behind that. However the research tended to use corpuses of papers and articles that were arguably better written and organized than today’s writing, especially on the internet.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
  81. Anon[276] • Disclaimer says:

    The survey says that 68 percent of men read, versus 78 percent of women. It surprised me that the gap is not greater.

    For fiction, I have noticed:

    — A greater percentage of authors are women.

    — Male authors are incorporating “chick lit” elements into their writing more and more, such as lengthy detours to relationship descriptions in the middle of a book that could do without that stuff.

    — More fantasy books and more fantasy elements creeping into adjacent genres like science fiction, and I don’t mean bloody Tolkein-style fantasy.

    I think that full-throated male fiction writers like Neal Stephenson and Robert Harris are not long for this world. I think that a lot of this is editors and publishers pushing for certain types of content. If you don’t have a pre-existing market and promotional platform, you are vulnerable to pressure.

  82. Lagertha says:

    I read 2 books a month.

  83. B36 says:

    I’ve read all of Steve Sailer’s book. He really should write another book, or at least put out an anthology.

  84. Carol says:

    Admit I had to force myself to read books again. The internet is so addictive. I’ve gotten my best book tips right here at isteve.

    Kindle is a godsend.

    • Replies: @Anon
  85. @Hypnotoad666

    Survey was conducted by phone so no reading was necessary. Of course, if you were sitting in the county lockup waiting for your homeys to scrabble together the $500 bail on that bullshit sexual assault and battery charge, you may have missed the call.

  86. @AnotherComment

    Agreed. Those in my parent’s age bracket seem to read quite a bit, which I typically chalk up to retirement and having something I think they call “free time” or something. As for me, with kids and a mortgage, I read a metric ton but it’s all articles and sometimes technical papers. Sitting down and reading a nice novel seems like a luxury I can’t afford. I have to imagine I’m a pretty common case.

  87. Kronos says:
    @Inquiring Mind

    So do you read the book reviews or what?

    • Replies: @bomag
  88. Kronos says:

    Yes, picture books are the best.

  89. Richard P says:
    @William Badwhite

    I call BS, too. I never see blacks reading a book. They’re always glued to their phone and engulfed in some kind of puerile twaddle. They’re noisome beasts who are easily entertained as they offer nothing of substance — especially when it comes to intellectualism.

  90. bomag says:

    note the “part of the way through” bit


    I walk through book stores and libraries, reading a couple pages of many books.

    I rarely make it through half a book; for every 100 I start, I maybe finish one.

    • Replies: @Totila
  91. bomag says:

    So do you read the book reviews or what?

    The posts; some of the comment threads and links.

  92. guest says:

    Shouldn’t we ask what kind of books they’re reading ? Because books aren’t all of a piece. Like 90% of them are trash.

  93. I’m not surprised to see the percentage of Hispanics. Upper-crust White Hispanics aside, who have contributed more than perhaps any other group to literature in the last century (proportionally speaking), the average cholo, mestizo, Indio, whatever is allergic to literacy or education. In Hispanic schools, kids who get good grades tend to have the least amount of friends and are bullied solely for getting good grades. The prevailing attitude is that they study really hard and memorize instead of being intelligent and are therefore lame, or something. I don’t want to spend too much time trying to figure out the thought process of sub 90 IQ brains.

  94. Anonymous[372] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jonathan Mason

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a hard copy of Playboy, but I have browsed the on-line archives, and it definitely seems to have been a guide for young men on how to dress and what to buy to live a certain type of lifestyle. The ads were for everything from socks and belts to motorcycles and sports cars.
    I don’t recall noticing any sleazy type ads for “one-reelers” or “french ticklers” and that sort of thing. Even the nudes — and few there were, compared to what I expected to find — were tasteful, and, other than showing boobage, quite tame. Other so-called men’s magazines of the era, with names like Adam and Stare had such ads and much more grossly sexual photography and artwork (if showing no more skin) than Playboy.
    Playboy was also very text rich with long articles and fiction pieces, in-depth movie and music reviews, etc.
    I suppose the cartoons were supposed to be sophisticated, but most I either didn’t understand or didn’t think were funny, unlike, say, the cartoons in The Saturday Evening Post, which still could induce a chuckle after half a century. One thing I did notice was that a very great many of the Playboy cartoons were about cuckoldry, and the cartoon protagonist was not the cuckolder but the cuckoldee. I thought maybe that had something to do with Hugh Hefner’s own personal history.
    Anyway, here’s a typical ad from the peak Playboy years (IMO), from 1966. Note how the man is dressed and that his ride is Italian. He was no lout in jeans, Army/Navy store surplus bomber jacket and Sears engineer boots riding an old Harley.

  95. J.Ross says:

    Right, because those are normally supposed to be introductions, summaries, and recaps, leading in to the meat (but meat themselves for the scavenger), and a good nonfiction researcher who has a decent grasp of the subject (and is just looking for this particular author’s contribution) can make do with a summary (a newcomer cannot), but —
    This guy had a sense of humor. I neglected to type that he kept going. If the littoral triad doesn’t work, make it four paragraphs from either end. Then five if necessary. In fact he started with the “thesis sentence,” then graduated to the paragraphs, so the whole thing is doubled. You begin to see what he’s not barking at the kids (who, I am not making this up, drove him to half-seriously ask me to teach them expository writing because I at least knew “what an essay should look like.”). Something like

  96. Anonymous[346] • Disclaimer says:

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
  97. @Honesthughgrant

    Nobody reads Marx and nothing else.
    Most of his critics would do well to read anything at all.
    Most of nowadays so called Marxists have yet to read one single line of his writings.
    So sad.

  98. @Daniel Williams

    Good question. Why don’t you ask the schools that gave them the diplomas.

  99. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:

    Books my co-workers have been spotted reading:

    How To Air Condition Any Corvair Vehicle

    Building Valve Amplifiers, Morgan Jones

    Hacking Raspberry Pi

    New Apple II Users Guide

    I myself have this

    on my desk at work as we speak..

    • Replies: @Kronos
  100. @Bardon Kaldian

    A comprehensive selection of books – heavy on the science, but still solid on the literary side.

    How were the books on Genghis Khan and Jung?

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
    , @Pheasant
  101. @Inquiring Mind

    Sailer is okay on some issues but often goes shabbos goy (‘smart Jew’ fetishism) like Rev. John Hagee of the Christian Zionism infamy who ironically is also of German descent.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  102. @Honesthughgrant

    Romance escapism certainly skews the figure for women.

  103. @theMann

    Don’t tell Fred Churros Reedriguez.

  104. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Amerimutt Golems

    We call CZs “God Damned Rapture Bunnies” where I am from. I’m sure they will get a special place in the innermost circles when they finally croak.

  105. @Anonymous

    Guys used to read a lot of nonfiction Michael Lewis-type books on airplanes. I suspect lately they are mostly watching movies on planes.

  106. Bill P says:

    I read about six hours a day, but not many full books these days. However, I read texts on the Gutenberg Project all the time. There’s a lot of obscure stuff that’s out of fashion but still fascinating to be found there.

    It’s not as good as a university library, but not too shabby either, especially for 19th century stuff.

    Honestly, I don’t think most people should read all that much, especially if they don’t enjoy it. So much literature and so many ideas are mediocre and/or wrong that it’s a chore to sift through it all unless you’re a hopelessly compulsive reader, and too much reading at the expense of interacting with people in person may be counterproductive for most people.

    Donald Trump apparently doesn’t read much at all, and that’s probably a strength for him. The idea of a philosopher king may be comforting to scholarly types, but as I see it the two jobs are mutually exclusive. How can a guy whose head is in the clouds navigate the political world?

  107. @AnotherComment

    Yeah, but one here, this intellectual bastion! they have in-depth analyses of Batman!

    What could be more intellectual! Maybe they could put in a graph!

  108. @AnotherComment

    I listen to about 15 to 20 history audiobooks a year when working out (usually several times over). Some are excellent — I never would have heard of David Frye’s book Walls except through Steve Sailor — thanks Steve! But I rarely read printed books anymore. I do consider that ‘reading’ although many do not. I do think high quality podcasts can also substitute for actual reading.

    But the lack of reading really comes down to lack of curiosity about the world. And of course — not a unique idea of mine — curiosity, which leads to true diversity of thought, is being substituted by forced ethnic and racial diversity, a type of visual diversity that is intellectually void. I myself don’t think any particular group is more interesting than any others, but diversity itself guarantees no success. Otherwise California’s secondary schools would be going up in rankings as the state’s young people become much more diverse. For some reason people in California don’t want to tackle that subject when I mention it.

  109. @Steve Sailer

    Hair! Dianne Carol, R.I.P.

    Steve, about her hair, wig?.

  110. @Altai

    And you actually care about some vile Disney movie?

    Go to kindergarten and grow up.

  111. Lurker says:

    I can only multitask if the task in hand is some mindless crap I can do while my brain can listen to something interesting.

    If I’m reading this site for example and trying to listen to something at the same time then its going to end up being one or the other.

  112. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Bill P

    I read about six hours a day, but not many full books these days. However, I read texts on the Gutenberg Project all the time. There’s a lot of obscure stuff that’s out of fashion but still fascinating to be found there.

    A couple of great resources:

    Pete Millett is very conscientious about following copyright rules but has amassed most every good old electronic text out there. Some real nice tidbits.
    A really gigantic treasure trove, a lot of industry magazines,tech journals, et al. Needs careful searching to realize how much is there, it’s immense.
    Tube 350 / AG-440B / AG-440C / ATR 100/102/104 / MM1100 / MM 1200 / ATR 800

    A ton of Howard Vollum era Tektronix stuff.

    A ton of old machining stuff, search around, I listed the link to the classic South Bend Lathe Works books which were used for 5-70 years in vo tech classes.

    A truckload of stuff on transformers and coil winding. Some horse’s mouth type docs here.

    There are many more such sites but there is a lifetime of reading right there.

    • Agree: Gordo
  113. @Bill P

    I don’t think most people should read all that much

    Most of the time when someone tells me about something amazing/profound/deep he’s read, my unspoken reaction is to wish he read less crap.

  114. @Jim Christian

    I watched Dianne (sp?) Carol in “Julia” on TV when I was nine. Lloyd Nolan was her boss.

    • Replies: @Jim Christian
  115. @Steve Sailer

    Steve, Michelle Obama’s Becoming, what’s that all about?


    Then it would be Be Combing.

  116. @Pincher Martin

    It was more about Mongols than simply Genghis- so far the best book on the subject, packed with info which one can’t find elsewhere (for instance, I didn’t know that Koreans were such fierce fighters) &, especially, maps that show you, step by step, the progress of Mongol conquest. Almost all Genghis books are about anecdotes & slaughter. Here, one can get much broader picture of the entire world at that time.

    Noll on Jung is a mixed bag. The book is clearly tendentious & truthful about cultist aspects of Jung’s life & work; just, the author is narrowly focused on each Jung’s misstep, so his whole life trajectory is depicted as something extremely perverted & callous. Also, Noll doesn’t care to assess Jung’s achievement against background of dominant ideas of his times & just calls him “unscientific”. True, but then all psychology is unscientific, if we apply Noll’s criteria (this includes even him as a psychologist).

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  117. Jokes aside:

    a) I think that stats shows people work now more than before (I mean middle-class people). Frequently, they just don’t have time & energy for reading.

    b) also, cultural climate is different, with audio-visual media & especially smartphones & social networks dominant. This alters an average psyche, driving it in “non-reading” direction. Whole life is now more “visual”, so to speak.

    c) general culture has never been so much about the “new”. I mentioned “visual”, but which percentage, now, saw “old” movies from, say, the 80s, let alone 50s?

  118. Pericles says:
    @Pincher Martin

    Mostly agreed. And those who do read are often bogged down in least-effort ‘nerd culture’. Well, at least they’re not porn addicts, I hope.

  119. Pericles says:
    @Daniel Williams

    Then by what conceivable standard can they be considered educated?

    The best way possible: dey have de credential.

  120. Gordo says:

    Most books are published by women for women, imagine submitting Master and Commander to a publisher today; straight to the slush pile, or modern equivalent thereof.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  121. anonymous[340] • Disclaimer says:


    I’ve become a habitual online reader, focused on TUR and a couple of other sites that – for now – have managed to attract enough quality, disparate authors and commenters and low enough proportions of the type that dragged down sites like Taki’s and ZeroHedge. I now read fewer books, even when counting those published here, but am more engaged in the written word than ever.

  122. @houston 1992

    I wouldn’t bet on it. Self driving cars will open up more time, for something. Probably more time for screen work. Corp employees will be reading all right, more e-mails from their manager written while in their self driving car on its way into the office.

    Book reading usually means recreational reading. That’s expendable time from the standpoint of corporate thinking. We can’t have that. I find it hard to believe companies will pass up the opportunity to consume their employees new found time.

  123. @Bardon Kaldian

    Jung strikes me on shallow inspection as the better artist than Freud. Neither guy was at all scientific, so aesthetic criteria seem the reasonable way to judge them.

    David Cronenberg made a decent if prosaic Jung-Freud movie a half dozen years ago, with Michael Fassbender as Freud (and Viggo Mortensen as Freud, which sounds silly, but Viggo is half-Italian so he qualifies under the Italians-can-play-Jews rule. Plus Mortensen is to Cronenberg what De Niro/DiCaprio was/is to Scorsese.) Keira Knightley was pretty bad in it as a mentally disturbed patient: my impression is that Knightley can be quite good in understated roles (e.g., Alan Turing’s pretend girlfriend in The Imitation Game), but she’s no good in histrionic roles. That would make her the opposite of Halle Berry, who is lousy at speaking mundane dialogue, but not bad at screaming.

    Whatever happened to Fassbender, anyway? He suddenly arrived in Inglourious Basterds in 2009 and was perhaps the leading leading man of the 2011-2015 era, and then …?

  124. Pericles says:

    Also, would a 100,000 word Unz commenting history constitute writing a book? Asking for a friend.

  125. Pericles says:
    @Jonathan Mason

    Many years later, possibly around 1997, I obtained another copy of Playboy and found that it was now an extremely tawdry sex magazine that no longer had any appeal to sophisticates like my 14-year-old self.

    Not even the low point. After the death of Hefner they made an issue featuring a tranny playmate.

  126. @Gordo

    I know somebody who had a summer job at a publishing company. He recommended a book about an aircraft carrier. It got published by his employer, but I noted that the first time I saw it in a bookstore was in the Clearance pile.

    Publishing is an interesting example of disparate impact. Girls read more books than boys, so it’s only natural that publishers cater to girls, but it then becomes a self-reinforcing cycle But nobody complains because of the zeitgeist, even though the centrality of books to the culture …

    • Replies: @Jesse
  127. @Steve Sailer

    True. In an interesting anecdote Jung himself had recorded, during the period of his psychological breakdown & psychosis, when he was sitting at the table & writing something, he asked himself: “What is this I am actually doing?”. Then, he heard a feminine voice coming somewhere from his inner mind: “This is art”. He furiously denied it, claiming it was science & the female voice was not heard again.

    I’ve seen the movie & was pleasantly surprised by- Viggo. Perhaps because the whole idea of an embodiment of Teutonic muscularity in the role of a very non-athletic stereotypical Jew was extremely absurd- and Viggo, nevertheless, pulled it off.

  128. Anon[324] • Disclaimer says:

    Yes to Kindle!

    I got the Kindle 2 and haven’t read a paper book since, with a few exceptions for books that are harder to render into ebook form because of a more magazine style layout, like some cookbooks.

    If a book I’m interested in was not on the Kindle, there was always another book I wanted to read.

    My reading style is to read a couple of fiction books and a couple of nonfiction books simultaneously. Kindle really lightens my load.

  129. Realist says:

    The results are very surprising. It’s not how much you read…it’s what you read.

  130. Anon[324] • Disclaimer says:

    Has anyone read “Tristram Shandy,” cover to cover?

    I’m looking for a follow-up to “The Tale of Genji.”

  131. @Steve Sailer

    I suspect lately they are mostly watching movies on planes.

    Or listening to podcasts. I still read quite a lot, but the time I used to devote to it while commuting I now spend on podcasts, mostly popular history.

  132. Anonymous[190] • Disclaimer says:

    She thought it was a giggle. But if it had been a random fan she probably wouldn’t have thought it funny.

  133. Nick Diaz says:

    Steve Sailer:

    ” Who doesen’t read books?”

    Millions of white Americans? Your pathetic attempt to try to justify curtailing Latino immigration on the grounds that they don’t like reading is beyond disingenuous. You very very well that white Americans for the most part are not very intellectualy, and don’t like reading much either. Most American white males prefer to spend their weekends watching football on T.V while eating pork rinds rather than reading Kenzaburo Oe or Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The average white Americans is much closer to Al Bundy rather than Al Franken. Here is the average white American male for you:

  134. @SGOTI

    Read a sportsball book. I really enjoyed any written by David Halberstam.

  135. @Steve Sailer

    I watched Dianne (sp?) Carol in “Julia” on TV when I was nine. Lloyd Nolan was her boss.

    Yeah, I misspelled Dihanne(or some such, not sure, that might have been the first Black perversion of a White-sounding name). James Earl Jones was her husband in one of those series, if not Julia. She actually had quite a musical background to go with her acting. She was getting $600.00/day modeling clothes and HAIR CARE products in Jet, Ebony and those. She did 9 years in a stormy romance with Sydney Pourtier who supposedly smacked her around pretty good (those men had a way with their women). That was the beginning of the worship of Hollywood Blacks, they probably had quite a time back then, heroic, even. She was on Broadway, she got around. And (who knew?), she’s been in a lot of latter day movies and TV series.

    Quite a gal, no empty suit. What do we get from these sorts now? Oprah, Kardashians and other assorted misfits. When I look at the substance and depth of all of that era compared to the celebrities of today, Jesus, what a contrast. Everything is changed for the worse, everything.

  136. @obwandiyag

    “some vile Disney movie”

    Disney’s “Frozen” is a work spanning across centuries, from the 19th to the 21st, being a vivid collaboration between two of the greatest popular storytellers in history: Hans Christian Andersen and John Lasseter.

    It incorporates themes mined from such classics as Bergman’s “Persona,” Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now,” and Capra’s “It Happened One Night”.

    Despite being a children’s musical cartoon, it reaches down to the center of the earth to explore ideas about madness, loyalty, and the nature of love. It is easily one of the highest cinematic achievements of the 21st century.

    Show of hands: who is more hilarious, Corvinus or obwandiyag?

    • Replies: @obwandiyag
  137. Jesse says:
    @Steve Sailer

    You could say the same about men and making films, but you’re considerably less sympathetic to feminist complaints about women in the movie business.

    I truly don’t get why people don’t just self publish. There’s an entire world of people out there making great livings from writing by bypassing publishers.

  138. Reading through the comments for this particular post feels like sitting in a small room with a bunch of boomers smelling each others farts.

    • Replies: @Cagey Beast
  139. @The Practical Conservative

    black-centric ghost stories

    Spooks, literally.

  140. @Jim Christian

    Most MSM media didn’t bother to report her death.

    Rest in peace Diahann Carroll.

  141. Stick says:
    @Laurence Whelk

    Some authors wrote to be read to. Dickens is awful to read but is listenable while doing something productive. This man was in dire need of an editor.

  142. @J.Ross

    Now, this is interesting ……

  143. @Anonymous

    Seeing all those male & female names, all I can think of is ….. fags & dykes everywhere. Homo invasion.

  144. Before we had children, decades ago, I read maybe 20-25 books a year.

    Now I have an empty nest, it is more like 5. I waste my time on the internet challenging Leavers and Climatologists.

    Going out more would probably be better but civil society has atrophied. Here in the UK, Church is too poorly attended to offer much. Lead S outs for a while but I moved to a place I am not known.

  145. @Steve Sailer

    Whatever happened to Fassbender, anyway? He suddenly arrived in Inglourious Basterds in 2009 and was perhaps the leading leading man of the 2011-2015 era, and then …?

    Just imagine the kind of scripts an actor has to choose from now days:

    – “In this one, you’re a sadistic, paedophile schoolmaster with a classy accent”.
    – “You’ll like this one, Michael, you play Nikki Minaj’s uptight English boss in this film remake of Fran Drescher’s hit TV show, The Nanny“.
    – “In this script you’re a classy villain who gouges out the eyes of a transgendered android because you hate love”.
    – “You play an uptight conductor of a classy orchestra who falls in love with Amy Schumer’s plus-sized character because of her unrelenting realness”.

  146. Corvinus says:
    @The Germ Theory of Disease

    “The only time a problem arises is when people who are not serious readers come to believe that their opinions about serious matters carry equal weight with the opinions of people who are.”

    You do realize that people who may not be serious readers may hold opinions based on conversations they have with other people, as well as being informed through the media by way of television and radio, right?

    As an aside, I am shocked that someone on the Alt Right has not come up with some sort of “educational series” designed for youngsters to indoctrinate them, I mean teach them proper, about race realism, Jewish machinations, white nationalism, etc. There could be a wide range of activities–-word searches, hidden pictures, coloring (heh!) pictures–-along with words of wisdom from Whitey McWhite, and his sidekick, Geno Cide. As a bonus, there could be a game based on this classic that the lil’ shit lords can procure through three proofs of purchase.

    Why don’t you, as a “serious reader”, put your money where your mouth is and develop these primers? After all, the future is for those who show up for it.

    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
  147. @Joe Stalin

    Can you imagine if high schoolers discovered his website and started using his arguments in class and in discussions at school? What an explosion across the nation that would cause!

    If I were living in an alternate reality I would want to be a Professor of Conspiracy Theory (yes, I am in _favor_ of it… 🙂 ).

    My poor students would have to read dozens of real books to pass the exam.

    When I was finished with them those who survived would be f___ing brilliant!

  148. Ragno says:

    If the only books one could read were those published within the past few years – say, five or ten years, for argument’s sake – then I would be one of the Non Readers. Same goes if the only books available for reading were those Approved titles issued by major/corporate publishing imprints.

    The same holds true for recent films and television programs – since both of these are considered and thus treated as far more important than mere books, I tend to give those products with the most unanimous praise if not adulation the widest possible berth.

    So let’s hear it for second-hand bookstores, revival theaters and Turner Classic Movies.

    Just about the only form of entertainment I will still wade hip-deep into is music, unfortunately because recorded music – thanks not only to pirating/downloading, but the Internet-driven realignment of culture that now places music at the very bottom of the pyramid – no longer matters to society’s new top dogs, except as an unimportant lifestyle accoutrement that mostly doubles as audio wallpaper. In a cruel but predictable irony, it’s still possible to stumble across first-rate new music – mostly because it doesn’t matter enough to the cancel-culture poobahs to draw a bead on and eradicate entirely. Yet.

    • Agree: Cagey Beast
    • Replies: @Cagey Beast
  149. When my father was promoted to assembly line floor manager at a large American airplane manufacturing facility, he was told to adjust his management style to accommodate the 30% of functionally illiterate employees. That was thirty years ago, before the (((elites))) began flooding the West with illiterate third worlders. Oh well, so long as planes fall out of the sky legally, no problema.

  150. @Bill

    The idea that 70+% of US adults can read is completely absurd.

  151. Muggles says:

    A dog or cat can’t read. Those who don’t read (especially books) are just like dogs and cats. They “think” on that same level of knowledge. So we are basically living in a nation full of voluntary illiterates who respond to their reality like our pets. Only less well behaved.

    As for eBooks, any screen reading is far inferior to print. Screens flicker text at hundreds of times per minute, flash-flash-flash. So rapidly that your brain sees this is a solid, not flickering image.

    However tests have indicated that your brain, below the level of your conscious perception, does notice the flickering. This is tiresome over any long period and I believe research suggests that retention of information degrades over time with screen reading. One reason why few really read full pages of screen text (now mostly squeezed into tiny cell phone sized windows) even on eBook readers.

    Audio books can approach visual static reading in comprehension, but all too often hearers are tempted to multitask. Again, research shows that degrades comprehension considerably, despite what we want to believe.

    Personally I am a heavy reader since early childhood. This has served me well. Of course it is far more noticeable that I live in a vast sea of voluntary ignorance about nearly everything by everyone.
    A quick hiring technique would be to ask an applicant about the last book they read, and get a few details. Or what books they are now reading. The 1% who can reply (and rule out porn or romance or religious tracts, etc.) and you have someone potentially smart.

  152. @AnotherComment

    I think this poll is measuring nothing beyond what groups attach an importance to reading.

    I’d like to see this poll filtered for people whose “book” amounted to the Bible, self-help books, Christian inspirational books, blockbuster best sellers, mysteries, bodice-rippers, and sci-fi & fantasy. “Not that there’s anything wrong” with those books, but most of them amount to TV shows in print. I bet a lot of those poll numbers would drop into single digits.

  153. I read extensively as a Late X/Early Millennial, but believe I am the exception. I was raised without television so have always been an active reader. Also my fiction tastes tend to run into the 1890-1965 range and other than certain high school staples like Gatsby, is out of print. I also tend not to read as many post WWII histories of anything pre war as I find that the decolonization generation and the Boomers, of course, often put their spin and or actively distort what happened to fit the current narrative. So, for example, I still have the old Morrison and Commager Growth of the American Republic before the post war edits, and J.A.R. Marriott’s history of England, published posthumously in 1945, as I recall, as I believe these to be more accurate than something by plagiarist Doris Kearns Goodwin, for example. This preference, in both fiction and nonfiction, necessitates buying the actual book, often used. Not only that I prefer to have them in hard copy anyway; I like a house filled with books, makes me feel more at ease.

    Cf. The rest of the world: In the last 5 or so fights I took this year I did not observe anyone of any age race or other distinguishing characteristic reading on the plane. It was all WiFi or tunes or watching a movie. Very few of my better educated friends have a lot of books and if they do, its coffee table books, or just a small shelf. It used to be even 5 years ago the kids would play with their phones on the plane train etc and the oldsters would still have a book or a newspaper but even grandma and grandpa are now seen fiddling aimlessly with their magic smart phones.

  154. Pheasant says:
    @Pincher Martin

    Comprehensive? They are pop science books.

    • Replies: @Pincher Martin
  155. Pheasant says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Freud and his ideology produced nothing good. Jung was the basis for alcoholics anonymous. Judge for yourself.

  156. Vintage porn novels sell for big money on ebay these days.

  157. @The Practical Conservative

    Could be, but I still think 67% overestimates it by at least 2x.

    I travel a lot (usually fly over 100,000 miles each year) and so as you can imagine spend a lot of time sitting on airplanes or making my way through airports. Just anecdotally, I can’t remember the last time I saw a fellow traveler black person reading. They’re staring at their phones or watching TV generally.

    One time a black guy in the seat next to me was just staring at the back of the seat in front of him. I offered him a magazine I had just finished reading. He politely thanked me, took it, and put it in the seat pocket and went back to staring at the seat in front of him. Btw this actually happened, this isn’t me going all Paleo Liberal.

    • Replies: @black sea
  158. Mr. Anon says:

    And you actually care about some vile Disney movie?

    Go to kindergarten and grow up.

    It’s reasonable to be concerned about how children are brought up, and what narratives they are exposed to is part of that. I realize such things are not a big concern in your culture – obviously, given what a hell-hole Africa is. Different strokes and all, eh?

    • Replies: @obwandiyag
  159. Mr. Anon says:

    You do realize that people who may not be serious readers may hold opinions based on conversations they have with other people, as well as being informed through the media by way of television and radio, right?

    And it’s reasonable to assume that those people’s opinions are ill-informed and uninteresting. As indeed yours are.

  160. Wow, this is truly groundbreaking. I hope that at least some taxpayer money was used to support this research, even if only indirectly. If I can summarize the results, looking at dimensions that seem to be correlated with IQ (e.g., income, educational attainment, et. al.), we see that people who appear to be, on average, less intelligent read less? Who’d a thunk it?

    In the spirit of this study, I have two suggestions for future research or one dissertaion topic:

    Bacon is Delicious: Urban Legend or Truth?

    Is Playing in Traffic Dangerous or a Remnant of Our Puritanical Past?

    Fire is Hot: Pain as a Social Construct Used to Further Gender Normative Sexual Practices in the Emergent Queer World

  161. anon[784] • Disclaimer says:

    Any real studies on why people read or don’t read books, and how reading rates fluctuate over time?
    1. People read less because video has re-wired our brains and emotions or shortened our attention span.
    2. People don’t read less. They never read that much to begin with.
    3. People read less because life is easy. During and after hard times (Great Depression, WWII), people read more.
    4. People read more when they are forced to read more. After all, reading is and should be hard work. Tough standards in school cause more reading, lax standards reduce reading.

    It would be good to see objective studies of these questions. Studies should distinquish between reading simple romance novels and reading college level literature.

    • Replies: @Jonathan Mason
    , @res
  162. Ian Smith says:
    @Andrey illyich

    I vividly remember this Latino kid in my high school reading a Stephen King book during some down time after class. Some of his friends teased him about it and he defensively told them he only read Stephen King.
    Could it be that while African Americans have a canon that’s acceptable to be seen reading (Malcolm X, James Baldwin, etc.), Latino Americans don’t have the equivalent?
    Most of the great Hispanic writers come from South America. Borges is Argentine, Marquez is Colombian, Llosa is Peruvian, and Neruda is Chilean. Maybe Mexicans and Central Americans don’t relate to stuff from south of the Panama Canal.

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
  163. Ian Smith says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Fassbender is a character actor who happens to look like a matinee idol.

    He was superb in the double roll in Alien Covenant.

  164. We have > 2.2, homeschooled kids.

    Not including assignments, the reading habits, of our children, range from one who has always been a reader and is especially fond of Shakespeare, to one who won’t even pick up a book (pictures or not).

    As you might expect, the boys tend to spend their free time playing computer games.

    Before becoming a parent, the breadwinner had been a voracious reader. After kids, said parent has had no time to read anything except insurance policies, billing statements, and so forth.

    The other parent, while also busy, gets to read plenty, but feels guilty about having the opportunity (especially when the reading is UR comments).

  165. @Ian Smith

    Maybe Mexicans and Central Americans don’t relate to stuff from south of the Panama Canal.

    There are significant authors from Mexico & Central America (Carlos Fuentes, Miguel Asturias,..). Just, they’re white.

    I cannot remember a Mestizo writer, though …

    • Replies: @Ian Smith
  166. @Bardon Kaldian

    Thanks for this. You’ve actually provided some decent suggestions. Particularly interested in the Mongols, afterlife and Jung related selections.

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
  167. @Cagey Beast

    Dude, thanks—that was the funniest thing I’ve read in a while!

  168. @Pheasant

    Pop science books?

    Any collection of scholarly essays entitled “The Cambridge Companion to [fill in the blank]” is probably not a book put together so it would jump off the shelves, even if the subject is about Einstein. Any book entitled “Universe or Multiverse?” and which markets itself as having selections for both the lay reader and the researcher is, again, probably not targeted at the masses.

    You do know what comprehensive means, right? It does NOT mean the selection has to go deep into every – or even any – particular area. It just means his reading list over the last couple of months had a wide range of books – a history of both the East and West, literary criticism, two classic novels, a critique of a famous psychologist, at least two or three books on physics, a piece of soft-core erotica masquerading as serious analysis, etc.

    That’s quite a range. It hits just about every major category one would find in a good personal library – the hard sciences, the soft sciences, history, literature, and a couple of miscellaneous categories that are hard to define.

    And that’s just his reading over the last couple of months.

    Now I’m sure your reading list over the last sixty days is far more impressive. Please, do share.

  169. @anon

    1. People read less because video has re-wired our brains and emotions or shortened our attention span.
    2. People don’t read less. They never read that much to begin with.
    3. People read less because life is easy. During and after hard times (Great Depression, WWII), people read more.
    4. People read more when they are forced to read more. After all, reading is and should be hard work. Tough standards in school cause more reading, lax standards reduce reading.

    5. Before TV existed, reading books was the only way people could enjoy stories without leaving home. I am 68. The first talking movie was made only about 20 years before I was born. My parents grew up without TV or talking movies.

    For people in earlier times, even of my own age, reading books was the main form of entertainment, so we did it for fun and developed a habit of , an addiction to, reading. Reading turned out to be a very useful skill, as it could be used for learning, and if you could read fast, you could learn fast, pass exams, and go to university, or get a good job that required literacy skills.

    The Daily Mail was founded in 1896 in recognition of the fact that nearly everyone in England at that time could read basic English, and so there was money to be made from a cheap newspaper.

    With first talking movies, then black and white TV, then color TV, and then the Internet and Youtube available to many people, reading skills in the general population have gradually eroded. People claim to “believe the Bible”, but have never read it. People critique Charles Darwin, but have never read any of his eminently readable books to see the process of how his thinking developed.

    People are generally less familiar with “great literature” than they used to be. Writers are no longer as influential as they used to be. Everyone is concerned about child abuse, but no one remembers that Charles Dickens practically created the child abuse industry. Today he would be on Oprah talking about his abusive childhood and would be pilloried for exaggerating.

    Hardly anyone reads Thomas Hardy any more, and even less people remember the furore he caused over the death penalty for abused women back in 1900. Hardly anyone reads George Orwell any more, and politician take Animal Farm and Nineteen Eight-Four as templates for action plans, not as dreadful warnings.

  170. @The Germ Theory of Disease

    You actually wrote that silly ingenuous nonsense? And you think it makes you sound “smart”?

    Let me explain something to you, you little baby. In the 1950s, if a grown man read Batman comic books or went to a Batman movie he would be laughed at mercilessly.

    In the 1950s they had actual grownups. Who are all dead now. Replaced by 5 generations of people who never did and never will grow up.

    Yes, times have changed. We are decadent. Grown-up men defending baby-crap as if it was Homer. It boggles the mind that I even have to explain this to you infants. But now I understand what is wrong with you. Why your opinions are so childish and your writing so feeble.

    You have been infantilized. Without your knowledge. And so now you think it perfectly normal. I think the intellectuals call this “hegemony.” When utter depraved brainwashing seems like just normality.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Anonymous
  171. @Mr. Anon

    Oh, let me get this straight. You are “concerned about how children grow up,” and then you let them watch this vile crap. Typical unselfaware idiocy. I won’t even call it hypocrisy because you are so solipsistic you are incapable of seeing yourself as grownups see you.

    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
  172. There’s no way 73% of Americans had read a book in the last 12 months. This is why I hate polls.

  173. @S. Anonyia

    Thanks. I you have spare time, I would commend the following works on afterlife (neither New Agey nor dry):

    These are serious books on the topic, something like an archeology of ideas.

    “Lighter” & newer, some bordering on New Age (not all) are, for instance:

    As for Jung- he is, in my opinion, a rather confused writer. His most spectacular & attractive works are, I think, his psycho-book & an edited hagiography:

    But, if you’re after the real stuff in transpersonal psychology, then, Roberto Assagioli and Gerda Walther are the authors:

    • Replies: @Justvisiting
  174. @Ragno

    ….. revival theaters and Turner Classic Movies.

    Of course, not everything on TCM is actually a classic. More than a few times I’ve watched one of those lesser movies they made to entertain middle class women while their husbands were at work. I could just picture some of the ladies in the audience deciding to go shopping early. Adolphe Menjou would be going through the motions up on screen while they fussed with their gloves and hats in the dark.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    , @Ragno
  175. @TorontoTraveller

    At least we kept you occupied for a few moments while you waited for your school bus.

  176. Odin says:

    Also note the “part of the way through” bit.

    Asked if he had read a certain book all the way through, Samuel Johnson answered “No, Sir, do you read books through?” Shows what you can do when n >> 1.

  177. J.Ross says:
    @Cagey Beast

    There was a very interesting one (I’m sure selected to interest Man Men fans), a Young Nurse soap opera switching out the hospital for a Manhattan publishing firm in all the technicolorful square tile sweep of midcentury, which actually had an acknowledgment of date rape and boss intimidation.

  178. J.Ross says:
    @Steve Sailer

    … he’s been working steadily along lines normal for competant European actors who come here. Apparently there’ll be a sequel to Kung Fury …

  179. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:

    Read Alfred Morgan’s Boy’s First (Second, Third,Fourth) Book of Radio and Electronics. (Free pdf online in a couple of places.) A lot of adults today could do with reading those and maybe building one or two of the projects.

  180. Ian Smith says:
    @Nick Diaz

    Al Franken is your idea of an intellectual?

    • Replies: @Nick Diaz
  181. Ian Smith says:
    @Bardon Kaldian

    Good point.

    Love reading your comments, by the way.

  182. @Nick Diaz

    You very very well that white Americans for the most part are not very intellectualy, and don’t like reading much either.

    Party on, Garth.

  183. @Steve Sailer

    David Cronenberg made a decent if prosaic Jung-Freud movie a half dozen years ago, with Michael Fassbender as Freud

    as Jung.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  184. res says:

    Not a real study, but some data on change over time.

    This is based on a time use survey:

    This looks at both literature in particular and the Pew survey results:

  185. Nick Diaz says:
    @Ian Smith

    Not really, but it rymed with Al Bundy, and I wanted to make that comparison. But Franken is at least decenlty smart, which is not the case for the majority of white Americans, especially Republican voters.

    • Replies: @Ian Smith
  186. Anon[263] • Disclaimer says:
    @Cagey Beast

    My thoughts exactly: he’s too handsome. And aristocratic. To make a bad situation worse, he’s masculine. They’ve got to hate him in Hollywood.

    In Jane Eyre, he outdid Firth’s Mr. Darcy. Kiss of death.

    • Agree: William Badwhite
  187. black sea says:
    @William Badwhite

    I offered him a magazine I had just finished reading. He politely thanked me, took it, and put it in the seat pocket and went back to staring at the seat in front of him.

    I could see myself doing that.

  188. Just finished my 52nd book of the year. A significant portion of those were audiobooks consumed on my 2-hour daily commute. To those who can’t “multitask” I say, ever tried walking and chewing gum at the same time? If audiobooks are too distracting for a driver, perhaps it only seems that way because the blather that comes out of the radio is such pointless, repetitive nonsense.

  189. Mr. Anon says:

    I don’t let any children watch such stuff. But other people do. That has consequences.

    Anyway, black people don’t seem to need dopey comic book movies to induce them to be sociopaths. They seem to do all right all by themselves on that score. Count that as a win for your people! Yey you!

  190. Mr. Blank says:

    I read (checks notes) 35 books in 2018. I probably would have read a lot more except that I work very long hours, which crimps my book-reading time.

    Well, work and video games — sorry/not sorry; video games were my babysitter as a kid, and I retain the habit to this day.

    Also, I tend to favor long, dense works now that I’ve reached middle age (mid-40s); among my upcoming plans are to read the complete version of Marx’s “Capital” from beginning to end and to finish reading every novel by Sir Walter Scott. I liked quicker, less complex stuff when I was younger. When I was in high school/college I probably averaged 100+ books a year, easily — even while playing video games.

  191. Totila says:

    Don’t feel bad. Apparently even as great a litterateur as Samuel Johnson rarely ever read a book completely through.

  192. @Steve Sailer

    but Viggo is half-Italian so he qualifies under the Italians-can-play-Jews rule.

    Is the suggestion here that if Viggo wasn’t half-Italian he’d be “too white” to play a Jew?

  193. NOTA says:

    I was also surprised it was this high, but it looks like this is stable across surveys. I imagine the self-reported rate is higher than the real rate, but probably not enormously so–the interviewer can’t give you a bad grade or anything if you tell him you haven’t opened a book since they kicked you out of school….

  194. NOTA says:
    @El Dato

    There are a lot of tasks that only need your full attention rarely. Listening to an audiobook, podcast, or ball game while you’re running on a treadmill, stuck in traffic, riding the subway, doing the dishes, etc. is basically inserting something interesting into an otherwise mind-numbing task.

  195. NOTA says:

    It seems like blacks are pretty heavily represented among US writers and poets, given their numbers and IQ statistics. My guess is that if you did a regression on # books read vs IQ or education for blacks, you’d get a noticably different line than for whites. Anyone know of real data on this?

  196. NOTA says:
    @Mark Spahn (West Seneca, NY)

    The obvious reason is that you have kids or grandkids you’re reading to!

  197. Ragno says:
    @Cagey Beast

    He might as well be St. Adolphe Menjou as far as I’m concerned. Way back when this was a free country and film stars could call a Red a Red without facing the Beautiful People Circular Firing Squad, Menjou time and again reminded those ladies in the audience – and their husbands – who the real bad guys were. Some of his most quotable quotes came in depositions to government hearings and committees:

    “Hollywood is one of the main centers of Communist activity in America. It is the desire and wish of the masters of Moscow to use this medium for their purposes…(which is) the overthrow of the American government”;

    “I’m a witch hunter if the witches are Communists. I am a Red-baiter. I would like to see them all back in Russia”;

    and, of course, the immortal

    “If the Communists were ever to come here, I’d move to the state of Texas, because I truly believe the Texans would kill them on sight.”

    If this country had any remaining spine not already on loan from Tel Aviv, Menjou’s face would be proudly adorning the hundred dollar bill. (It’s tempting to have him bump Harriet Tubman off the 20, but Menjou’s grandiloquent showmanship would probably not settle for anything less than a hundo.) Though it’s doubtful any tribute, however well-meant and fully-deserved, would alleviate his bitterness and distress at what the Democrats have done to Texas.

  198. Ian M. says:
    @houston 1992

    btw what sort of books, if any, can the steve-o-spehre listen to while driving?

    I listened to Ghettoside while driving.

  199. Anonymous[277] • Disclaimer says:

    That’s a poor example. Homer was the Marvel/DC of his day. The Greek gods were the original superheroes.

  200. Anonymous[277] • Disclaimer says:
    @Cagey Beast

    Yes, typecast. You can see why actors hate it. It limits their employment opportunities.

  201. Indians (dot-not-feather) don’t read a dot or jot if they can help it. Utterly pedestrian culture which neither knows nor cares about “improvement of the mind” or “ars gratia artis.”

    More depressingly, the goyim and even (((tribals))) have abandoned leisure reading. It seems that there is a mad dash to the bottom where everyone is competing to become the most bestial dirt-person bereft of culture and sensitivity.

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