New research shows a stark and "worrying" cultural divide in the UK…Oh, here we go again! What is it this time?
… when it comes to reading, with half the country picking up a book at least once a week for pleasure, and 45% preferring television.So..? Different strokes for different folks, no?
Well, no. There are buggywhip manufacturers looking to demand more support by hanging their hats on a modern concern, after all:
The England-wide survey of the reading habits of 1,500 adults by the University of Sheffield says that on average, the higher the socio-economic group that someone is in, the more often they read: 27% of DEs never read books themselves, compared with 13% of ABs, while 62% of ABs read daily or weekly, compared with 42% of DEs.
Reading charity Booktrust, which commissioned the research, believes its findings should serve as a warning that "Britain's divided reading culture is a barrier to social mobility".Correlation does not imply causation. They aren’t in the lower income bracket just because they reach for the Sky remote rather than picking up ‘War And Peace’ when they get home.
So it follows that they won’t suddenly become – or raise – captains of industry because they quit the pleasures of relaxing in front of ‘Coronation Street’ for a well-thumbed copy of Chekhov’s collected works.
One respondent, a male who fell into the survey's 30-44 years age bracket, told researchers: "The fact is, it's 2013 not 1813. We have electricity now so we can buy DVDs and watch television rather than read books. Books are for an older generation, younger people on the whole do not read books."They don’t read them as books, no. They do often read Kindles and Nooks and other e-readers.
And even if they didn’t, so what? Times change. People’s habits change with them.
Booktrust is "concerned that this divided reading culture is leading to large numbers of children missing out on the benefits of books", and is running a conference on Tuesday at which figures including children's laureate Malorie Blackman, and the MPs Alan Johnson and Liam Fox, will attempt to kick start a national conversation about improving social mobility by encouraging reading earlier.Booktrust needs to stop attempting to help itself to my money on spurious premises.