Where Have the Readers Gone?

May 2001
by Jan Nathan

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Last week, I read an article in an e-newsletter about the canceling of a teenage book club by one of the major New York houses. They said it was due to a lack of support. I found this to be a sad statement about the future. Does this mean that teenagers have stopped reading? If so, where will we get (and how can we develop) our next generation of readers?

As a teenager, I remember immersing myself one summer in anything and everything I could get that had been written by D. H. Lawrence. I took these books to the beach with me; I read them on the bus as I was going to my summer job; I stayed up all hours of the night and got up early to finish the last few chapters. True, I wasn’t supposed to be reading these books. At that time, many of Lawrence’s titles were held in a back room of our hometown library because of what was considered to be their “questionable content.” I guess this was a form of censorship. Fortunately, for me, my best friend worked in the library that summer and had a key to this wonderful room. She’d sneak me into the room late in the day, and I’d pop a new Lawrence off the shelf, slipping it under my shirt, while returning the one I had just read. Then I’d casually stroll out of the library! Henry Miller and Dylan Thomas, who also shared the shelf space in this great room, were of no interest to me.

While my male counterparts would read the magazine Sports Illustrated and occasionally a book about so…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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