aka YA Literature

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

End of the culture of the book?

There was a really interesting interview with author Larry McMurtry published in the Houston Chronicle yesterday. In it he talks about the end of the culture of the book:

I’m pessimistic. Mainly it’s the flow of people into my bookshop in Archer City. They’re almost always people over 40.

I don’t see kids, and I don’t see kids reading. I think little kids love to have stories read to them, but when they get to 10 or 11 or 12, they run into this tsunami of technology: iPod, iPhone, Blackberries.

They don’t resist it, and it’s normal that they wouldn’t; it’s their culture. I’m not so sure they ever come back to reading. Some will, but most won’t.

I find that quote so disturbing, but it is something I see every day teaching reading to high schoolers. My classes do a 20 minute silent reading rotation each day and they hate it! That would have been like a little piece of heaven for me when I was in high school. I have comfortable couches, a great selection of books, and yet it is still torture for them. I think McMurtry might be right, books just can't compete with the "tsunami of technology."

2 comments:

Sheryl said...

On the other hand, the latest NEA study shows reading on the rise. Read Ann Pratchett's great take on it: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123214794600191819.html

I see a lot of reluctant readers at school, but I also see a lot of kids who read voraciously (and not just manga!).

Holly said...

I guess I just have to remember that I am seeing a small slice of the teen population (and the ones that NEED Reading).
But at the pub library, I didn't see a whole lot of teens in there either (except for the computers).