I just finished Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story, in which everyone spends 100% of their days embedded in a digital world provided and curated by devices called “apparati.” People are harassed for owning books (which apparently smell moldy and gross) and some designated “Media” people live-stream their entire lives, Truman Show-style.
Just as I was thinking about how sad this extreme version of the future looked, I read a beautifully illustrated series of statistics on post vs. pre-recession America, compiled by The Atlantic. And there, right in front of my nose, was evidence that in some ways we’re already there.
Average minutes spent per weekend day reading (15 to 19-year-olds): 5
And my guess is that the survey results went something like this: 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 40, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 40….
In other words, a few hold-outs, like Shteyngart’s “hero” Lenny Abramov, insist on sticking with an outdated mode of information-gathering, while the lone reader’s peers have given up entirely. But that’s just a guess.
Related Post: Why dudes should read books by chicks, and a few suggestions for how to get them started.