Monday, December 05, 2005

Greeks don't like books

Ok, perhaps the title of my post is a bit extreme, as it doesn't apply to ALL Greeks. Many seem to not have a personal problem with books, but just don't get around to reading any.

According to a recent poll conducted on behalf of the state-run National Book Centre of Greece, 2 in 3 Greeks admit to not reading a single book in a year. Apparently (for 40% of respondants, at least) this is because they don't have time for reading, but I've found it is always easy, no matter how busy you are, to squeeze in an hour or so before bed, especially if you don't spend too much time watching T.V. 18% said they DO NOT LIKE BOOKS!!! What...the...hell?!? 25% read between 1 and 9 books a year, which I suppose is better than nothing.

22% claim to read a newspaper on a daily basis, while 39% don't read newspapers at all. 62% of Greeks did not attend any movies, and 83% did not attend the theatre (ok, that last one is understandable, theatre prices are way too high for average salaries here in Greece).

Wow. Just wow. For some reason I always thought (assumed, apparently) that Greeks liked to read. Ah, well.


adfjkaj said...

Whenever I have a book on the metro with me, people always strain to read the title. Not sure if that means they are interested in reading the book, or merely trying to ascertain my nationality based on the title. Sometimes I fool them with a Greek Book!

BallAndDust said...

Growing up, my papou was always bringing books home to my mother and her siblings.

Of course, they didn't have a TV during those years. Up to the 1980's, there were only two television stations that were not on all the time.

My how life in Greece has changed. Though I am not surprised as I have seen tremendous social changes in my visits over thirty-plus years.

This is quite pathetic. There is always time to read. Try (heaven forbid) not watching all those stupid reality TV shows.


You should bring in books written in different languages every day. That should throw them for a loop! Think if you just stare at a Chinese book what the reaciton will be! ;)


adfjkaj said...

I don't know. What if they think I'm one of those "ornamentals" and want to deport me. (just kidding)

oskar said...

Judging from the lack of bookstores in Greece compared to other places in Europe (even other places in the Balkans) Greeks just don't come accross as being very interested in litterature or reading.

melusina said...

I was really surprised at this data, mainly because I heard the literacy rate in Greece was very high - I just assumed people liked to read, and a lot.

There are some good bookstores, at least in Athens and Thessaloniki. But books in Greek are VERY expensive. I've recommended books to my in-laws and they always end up buying it in English instead of Greek, because it is cheaper. I'm sure the cost has something to do with it, although there ARE libraries.

NY32 said...

The data on reading is not comparative. Indeed book reading rates are pretty much in line with worldwide trends and semm better than the states. Newspaper readership rates state-side are way down as well.

I would say there are more bookstores in Athens per block that in New York.

TV seems to trump everything worldwide.

brad said...

I've always been told that Greeks don't read very much.
The one thing that I am certain of is that most Greek kids (at least the ones I talk to) read Harry Potter.
And I feel like the Da Vinci Code is everywhere, too. I didn't read it until I came to Greece.