You can listen to this short article at All Things Considered on NPR: Reading Study Shows Remarkable Decline in U.S.
And read about it here:
To Read or Not To Read: A Question of National Consequence
just one excerpt:
All of the data suggest how powerfully reading transforms the lives of individuals— whatever their social circumstances. Regular reading not only boosts the likelihood of an individual’s academic and economic success—facts that are not especially surprising—but it also seems to awaken a person’s social and civic sense. Reading correlates with almost every measurement of positive personal and social behavior surveyed. It is reassuring, though hardly amazing, that readers attend more concerts and theater than non-readers, but it is surprising that they exercise more and play more sports—no matter what their educational level. These cold statistics confirm something that most readers know but have mostly been reluctant to declare as fact— books change lives for the better.
Whether or not the study is flawed (as some have suggested), it covers such an important aspect of a culture that it deserves attention.
And, Carl, did you realize this? I'm sure you did, and I've just missed it, but it is such a "good thing." More reason for the networks to allow the writers their due and get on with the process because I need more Joss Whedon.