"Immersion in the life of the world, a willingness to be inhabited by and to speak for others, including those beyond the realm of the human, these are the practices not just of the bodhisattva but of the writer." --Jane Hirshfield

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

"When Women Stop Reading, The Novel Will Be Dead"

A couple of years ago, British author Ian McEwan conducted an admittedly unscientific experiment. He and his son waded into the lunch-time crowds at a London park and began handing out free books. Within a few minutes, they had given away 30 novels.

Nearly all of the takers were women, who were "eager and grateful" for the freebies while the men "frowned in suspicion, or distaste." The inevitable conclusion, wrote McEwan in The Guardian newspaper: "When women stop reading, the novel will be dead."


And from NPR's Maureen Corrigan, "...there always comes a moment when I'm in the company of others -- even my nearest and dearest -- when I'd rather be reading a book." From Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading.

I suppose that could get to be a problem if it happens before you're ever in anyone's company. It does happen to me, but not as frequently as it might. Example: Do I want to go to the library and vote on the proposed expansion, meanwhile meeting half the people I know in town, hearing their side of it and killing a couple of hours, or, do I just stay home and read? The expansion was voted down by a huge majority. Anyway, I like our library the way it is.


SB said...

I know! There's something to be said for having a nice new building, but it would lose a lot of its charm, and boys probably wouldn't read any more anyway.

Zen of Writing said...

I like the old building, although I don't use the internet access, and apparently there is a shortage of computers (four). But you always see people sitting outside using the wireless.