The fact is that even though I'm a writer who reads more than the average American, I still watch a lot of Netflix. It offers things a book can't. One major advantage it offers over books is the change to experience fiction in real-time with Mrs. Heretic. We're currently trying, for the second time this year, to read a book together (Jennifer Egan's Visit from the Goon Squad). She tried to talk to me about it yesterday, but I wasn't caught up to where she is yet. When we watch Game of Thrones, we both experience everything at the same time. It makes the experience far more rewarding and social. Add in all the people in the office who've seen the show and are talking about it. Everyone likes to belong once in a while, even misanthropes like me.
Book clubs just don't seem to cut it. It is nice to read books on the recommendation of friends and then possibly discuss them over a cigar. (Did I mention I smoked a cigar the other day? I'm very manly now.) But a moderated group of people with a list of questions to discuss has never really excited me much. Books are just hard to transfer into social topics of conversation like a series you can all watch at once and comment along to on social media.
|When you want to be manly AF while discussing the teen drama you just watched|
Why is this? It wasn't always this way. Salons used to be pretty much nothing but big book clubs, and they were the best social gathering in town. Are we (a pronoun I'm included in) just dumber?
TV is easy to watch. It requires little effort. Everyone else is doing it, so it brings social acceptance. Books are hard. No wonder a staggering percentage of adults do not read books. I'm going to guess it will get worse. There is hardly any shame any more in not being a reader.
This site is far too small to take as a data point, but consider this: This is a blog about writing. Presumably, the few people who read it care about literature. When I posted about Viet Thanh Nguyen's views on the workshop--the central issue of this blog--I got maybe 60 views. I got 200 for some throwaway stuff on a teenage show. Even in communities that value reading, streaming video is more popular than reading.