You've probably heard the abysmal facts: according to Pew Research, the average American adult reads 12 books in a year, and the typical American adult reads only four. What's worse, almost one quarter of adults will not read a book at all this year. But surely, all of these people who go around doing anything other than reading know what books are, right? Right?! As Thursday's episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live! shows, some people cannot name a single book title, and I don't know what's happening right now.
As a warning to all the book-lovers out there, I must say that the video embedded below is graphic, absolutely brutal to watch. You may feel like grabbing the people involved by the lapels and giving them a good shake before turning them loose to wander back into their fairyland in which The Lion King is a book, The Jungle Book is just a movie, and Moby-Dick is the author of a book called Horse.
(Seriously, if anyone knows what that last one is about, let me know, because I am drawing a blank.)
Kimmel sent his man on the street out to ask people to "name a book." That's it, that was the assignment. They could have said The Cat in the Hat, or The Catcher in the Rye, or even a religious text like the Torah, Bible, or Koran. But these people couldn't name a single, solitary book. Take a gander at the video below, and let's talk about it more after the jump.
Ugh, go ahead and take your time to recover from that. Grab some water, a blanket, or your favorite comfort food, because I know that was rough to watch... Ready to talk now? OK. Deep breaths.
Look, I understand that people blank out and clam up when they're put on the spot like this, but the bar was set so low that saying literally any book title could have redeemed them. Even if they only watched the movies, surely these people know that Gone Girl, The Great Gatsby, and It were based on books, right? Then again, someone thought Moby-Dick was a person, so I really don't know what to think about my fellow humans at this point.
If you need to refresh yourself and remember that the world is full of other people who still read books, check out these online book club communities, or consider starting a book club of your own. You might also donate to a literacy-based charity, like this one from the National Book Foundation, which supports children in the U.S., or the World Literacy Foundation, which has global aims. And if you have children in your life, be sure you're reading to them every day.