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Reading is Gilded in the Golden State

29 Apr

A USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll about the reading habits of Californians found, interestingly enough, that 80% of dwellers in the Golden State read a book in the last month, and that a full quarter of the population reported reading a book a week!

If this is actually the case, then I’m a poor representative of my state.  And I love reading!

I have a strong feeling the poll numbers overrepresent the actual reading habits of Californians, for two simple reasons. 

(1) Californians are BUSY,  despite a stereotype of laid-backness.  Try to drive anywhere in So Cal (aka Southern California, aka the evil empire) and you will know what I’m talking about. 

(2) Californians are trendy people (or at least they think they are!).  In a strange way, reading is trendy.  I might actually believe the poll if it were conducted in wine country, but LA is in a weird kind of competition with New York City and the appearance of being well-read is a rich commodity in that competition.

What would be a more interesting study, I think, is to figure out what kinds of books Californians read, and compare those books to what’s being read in other states.  Do those living on the west coast read more nutrition/healthy living books than those in eastern or northern states?  Is genre romance more popular in certain regions of the country than others?  Are there certain books that are universally read?  I think the feedback from such a study would be surprising, and could make a good sociological paper!