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Book Clubs and Libraries: What and How to Read in the USA

The book of the former FBI Director James Komi in the first week found more than half a million buyers. It is interesting that from the first days the book was sold at a discount of 30%, with a cost of 30 dollars - this is a significant motivation to buy. In America, memoirs are generally loved - this is one of the most popular categories of books.

Фото: Depositphotos

Edition Rtvi collected information about the literary preferences of Americans.

Successful American suburb. Katya is a classic housewife living in a well-kept mansion on a quiet street. She is a member of the Russian-language book club: 12 readers gather every two months, and always in a new house with a new book.

“We've been dating for almost 9 years. Today we will discuss the book "Status Anxiety"Is a practical philosophy, author Alain de Botton, but we read both Turgenev and Nabokov," said Katya.

The club reads fiction and historical novels, autobiographies and popular science works. The book is chosen democratically - by general vote.

“Once the book was offered by Svetlana Alexievich“ Time for a second-hand ”, but some refused to read it categorically. Someone thought it too pessimistic, someone - on political issues. They chose another, ”admitted the woman.

The main criterion for voting is the controversial opinions of critics about the work or the author, in order to discuss it was not boring. The most vivid discussion, according to Katy, was about Dina Rubina’s book - the participants argued about what exactly should be considered a betrayal.

“We learned a lot about each other,” she shared.

“I know for sure that we have differences in political views and in some philosophical views, but this does not prevent us from communicating, discussing and listening to the opinions of our friends,” said Natalya Shalaeva, founder and editor-in-chief.

Book Club - a purely American tradition. According to one version, it originated in the beginning of the 17th century, on board a ship heading from England to the New World. Puritan Anne Hutchinson gathered the bored ladies to read the Bible together. After a hundred years, women's reading circles became so popular that the idea was picked up by men. In 1727, the literary community, which included 12 prominent political and public figures, organized the Benjamin Franklin community. A hundred years later, the first African-American women’s book club appeared in America. Today, according to New York Times, in various book associations are more than five million Americans.

In a year, the average US resident reads 12 books. As studies show Pew ResearchThis amount is directly proportional to the income of Americans. That is, the higher the salary, the more they read. And this is a growing trend, says the writer Esmeralda Santiago.

“People here certainly read a lot. There are book clubs all over the country. Yes, I myself - a member of the book club. This is a great opportunity for different people to get together, read something at the same time, discuss it all. Then friends tell their friends and family what to read. And you know, in the US, here are so many books that are sold - word of mouth advertising, ”Santiago explained.

The writer clarified that, according to statistics, fiction is worse off than journalism, because many people prefer to read stories based on real events and human destinies - you can easily put yourself in the shoes of a hero.

But sales of books in general, of all genres, both printed and electronic, are growing, despite the pessimistic predictions of skeptics in the era of technological progress.

Фото: Depositphotos

Interest fell 10 years ago, and from 2009, a new book boom began in the USA: almost 600 new private bookstores opened in the country. With the printed word, that is, the sale of paper books, the Internet monster began - online store Amazon. At 1995, he competed with the giant book industry store Barnes and noble. Here, the windows are always bestsellers, but the success of the book is not only a sold out edition, but also reincarnation on the screen: among the Oscar-winning paintings, the vast majority - almost 90% - are adapted from bestsellers. Like, for example, Schindler's List, Forrest Gump, 12 Years of Slavery, Slumdog Millionaire, and Gone With the Wind.

Today, the book on which they shot the film is more expensive, and the most popular even get a place on a separate shelf. Here, in the store, you can drink coffee, read, sitting in a comfortable chair. Quiet like a library.

“It doesn't matter where and how you read - the main thing is what you read,” the famous showhowman, Oprah Winfrey, always said.

She opened the TV book club 22 a year ago and once a month chose a book, discussed it with the author and shared her impressions with viewers across America. 69 from 70 of the books she chose became bestsellers. The Oprah Show has not been aired since 2011 of the year, but the Book Club affair lives, only now on the TV news website.

A computer genius, one of the richest people on the planet — the founder of Microsoft Bill Gates.

Generally, if you need to think of what, where and when to read - this is a question for the NYT. Rating of new books - a regular section of the newspaper last 35 years, reviews of influential critics, readers are not questioned.

Today in the newspaper, tomorrow - at a meeting of the book club. After posting a positive review on the “Alien” novel by Diane Gabldon - participants in this meeting - the American from New Jersey even went to the place where part of the book’s actions take place. According to them, they, after reading the entire series of “Strangers”, gathered and went to Scotland to go through the places mentioned in the first book.

Along with the modern authors, they read the classics, including the Russian one.
“As a rule, once a year we try to choose the classics. Last year we read Anna Karenina. We also read a lot of books that we would not choose, ”said club member Julie.

The Russian-language book club is not modest: the knowledge of two languages ​​gives them the opportunity to read masterpieces in the original.

“If they knew more languages, they would read large ones,” a member of the club jokes.
New York reads almost in 180 languages.

“Read with us, read more than us,” call for advertising slogans of a new campaign organized by the city’s mayor’s office. Anyone can take part in the voting on the site, which results determine the 5 books of the month. Esmeralda Santiago's autobiography, When I Was Puerto Rican, was also on the prestigious list in April.
“This, of course, is incredible! The book I wrote so long ago has a new generation of readers. Their attention is focused on my words. When someone reads my book, a connection arises between us. And I really appreciate it, ”admitted the writer.

The multimillion anthill, despite being busy, finds time for intellectual development. In general, reading and writing in New York is fashionable. So not everywhere in the country, the backwoods traditionally lag behind, but in general, the US is on the 22 place in the list of the most reading countries in the world. The first three - India, Thailand and China, Russia - on the seventh.

They read very different books in different parts of the world: in Russia, among other things, detectives love, in America fantasy goes well or, for example, memoirs of political figures.

books reading culture

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Favorite books of Trump, Gates, Zuckerberg and other successful Americans

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Five of the best 2017 books of the year according to Bill Gates

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