Reading on the Rise

Amidst book publishers’ struggles, the National Endowment for the Arts has a surprise finding: Fiction reading is on the rise. For the first time since 1982, when the NEA began collecting such data, the percentage of adults who have read at least one novel, short story, play, or poem in the past year has risen to 50.2 percent from 46.7 percent in 2002. The increase was most dramatic among 18 to 24 year old, among whom the decline was previously most pronounced. The exact reasons for the rise are unknown, but Dana Gioia, the chairman of the NEA, speculates that community-based book clubs, Oprah Winfrey, and series like Twilight and Harry Potter all played a role.