Leisure reading less of a campus pastime

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    Everybody is obsessed with the Facebook feature allowing users to list their favorite TV shows, music, movies and hobbies, but there is one field that seems to be missing from many students’ profiles – favorite book.There is a field for it, and it is either magically left off the profile or filled with responses such as “I don’t read” or “I read pop-up and picture books.”

    There appears to be a solid reason why this little category is so often left off of people’s profiles.

    A 2004 survey conducted by the National Endowment for the Arts titled “Reading at Risk” reported about 10 percent of literary readers have quit reading between 1982 and 2002. The 10 percent loss represents close to 20 million fewer people reading than two decades ago.

    The NEA survey states the number of readers between 18 and 24 years of age seem to be declining faster than any other age group. And those who do read are reading a lot less.

    According to the survey, college-aged adults saw a 55 percent larger drop than that of the total adult population.

    Kate McBride, a junior speech pathology major, said she can understand why reading has dropped off with the younger crowd since college is so time consuming.

    “During the semester, all I have time to do is read my textbooks,” McBride said.

    She said she mainly catches up on her leisure reading during the semester breaks.

    “During the summer, I will read a book for hours, with my favorite being various murder mysteries,” McBride said.

    McBride isn’t the only student on campus who has had to cut back on their reading due to classes.

    John Williamson, a junior religion and philosophy major, said he reads less than an hour a week.

    “Between reading for class and my schedule being so busy, I just do not have the time to read,” Williamson said. “And when I do have time, I just don’t want to read anymore.”

    Time seems to affect even those students who still read, but have had to cut back as school began.

    Self-proclaimed book lover Alese Deere, a senior English major, said she will read just about anything but that it gets more difficult to read in her down time as the semester progresses.

    “I read a lot during my spare time, but it is hard during the semester because I am so busy reading the required books for my literature classes,” Deere said.

    She said her friends are about split down the middle on whether they read during their own time.

    “I feel the majority of students are just too busy trying to keep up with their class load,” Deere said.

    Whether it is due to the changing landscape of the media, where online text is becoming available and iPods have taken over college campuses, it seems more popular to talk about the latest episode of “Grey’s Anatomy” with a group of friends than about the most recent James Patterson release.