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Canadian readers: a little busier, a little nicer

Ian Brown has a distinctly Canadian take on all the hand wringing over the recent National Endowment for the Arts report on the declining readership for literary fiction, plays, and poetry in the U.S. While pointing out that the most recent StatsCan survey showed that Canadians read more than their American counterparts, Brown’s Globe and Mail column basically follows a line set down by Charles McGrath in a recent New York Times op-ed piece, in which McGrath argues that just because people are reading less “literary” material it doesn’t follow that they are reading less. Brown takes particular exception to the NEA’s narrow definition of literary reading: “By excluding blogs, biographies, browsing, literary journalism and so many other ways people read these days, the NEA survey becomes little more than a eulogy, a backward glance at long-established ‘literary’ habits, rather than an account of genuine new ones.”

Related links:
Ian Brown’s column on the NEA report