It is often said that people are reading less literature today than they used to.
What should we make of this?
Well first, a book doesn't have to be literature to be intellectually stimulating.
Science writing history, political analysis and so forth aren't literature perhaps, but they are often of high quality and these kinds of books can be just as creative and well-written as a novel or a play They can stimulate the imagination.
So don't assume that someone who isn't reading literature isn’t reading a good book.
But let's say that people aren't just spending less time with literature, they are also spending less time with books in general.
Does that mean that the cultures is in decline?
No, there's plenty of culturally valuable material that isn't written - music and movies, for example.
Are people wasting their time when they listen to a brilliant song or watch a good movie?
Do these non-literary activities lower cultural standards?
Of course not.
Culture has changed.
In today's culture, there are many forms of expression available other than novels and poems.
And some of these creative forms speak more directly to contemporary concerns than literature does.
Finally, it's probably true that there's less support for literature today than in earlier generations.
But don't be too quick to blame the readers.
Sometimes it's the author's faults.
Let's be honest.
A lot of modern literature is intended to be difficult to understand.
Here is not much reason to suppose that earlier generations of readers would have read a lot of today's literature either.