So yesterday, on a whim, I looked up “how much do people read” because, to be perfectly honest, I wanted to see how I stack up. For the past 3 1/2 + years I have been in the habit of reading on weekday mornings, and I also read at night-time often. I have read over 100 books in that time, which roughly translates to about 30 books a year. I guess I have always had a strangely competitive attitude about reading books (yeah…not exactly an obvious topic to be competitive about), which probably goes back to being a child and somehow this developed when comparing myself to my sister and brother and their reading. At the time, it probably was over the issue of how fast I read. I thought that reading fast was the way to go. Of course, when you are a child, and a boy, then probably everything is about going fast. After all, the fastest wins, right?
Anyway, I can understand if it sounds a bit silly to be competitive about reading. These days, I’m really not that concerned about how fast I read (I probably read about average speed. I never really got into the speed reading thing). Instead, I just like that I read regularly. However, I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that the competitive child in me (who apparently still remains!) has been delighted by the idea that, by reading regularly as I do, I probably read more than the average adult.
I wanted to test the idea out, see if that was actually true. So I looked it up yesterday. According to irisreading.com, the average American adult reads 12 books a year… however, this number is highly inflated by high-volume readers. The number that is actually most common is 4 books a year.
The average American adult reads 4 books a year. I guess I win!
(Note: hopefully the confessional nature of this doesn’t make me look like a jack ass. I find the reading data about our reading habits genuinely interesting. I do have a personal value, probably from my upbringing, that says that reading is important, and that people ought to do it. That being said, I have had numerous close friends in my life who were not readers, so I am aware that there are other ways of being that are also equally valid).