I read a GalleyCat article about the most well-read cities in America. The list was curated by Amazon, and it’s based on sales of books, magazines, and newspapers in both Kindle and print format. According to the list, Alexandria, Virginia, was the most well-read city, which doesn’t really surprise me. The entire Washington, D.C. area is supposedly full of intelligent people (no matter what side of the political spectrum you’re on), who I imagine would enjoy reading as a hobby and not just as something boring that’s required for school.
The list made me think of stereotypes regarding certain states in America. For instance, when you think of Alabama, you might think of uneducated hillbillies sitting on front porches with shotguns. When you think of Alaska, you might think of Eskimos and igloos. I think every state has a certain set of stereotypes, and of course, everyone has their own impression of a state based on how much or how little they know about it. Some states might be thought of as more “intelligent” or “well-read” than others. On the list of well-read cities, there were a bunch of Southern cities listed, and only a few Northern ones. You’d think that New York City (or some city in New York) would be on the list since the majority of the publishing world is located there. And I was rather surprised that the Research Triangle Park region of North Carolina wasn’t on the list.
But the good thing about the list is that the well-read cities aren’t all concentrated in one area. America is reading, and for this, we should be happy, stereotypes aside. But of course, to get a better list, perhaps we shouldn’t rely on Amazon to curate it – after all, people who buy books may not necessarily be the ones to read those same books; they may have gotten them as gifts or something. Maybe public libraries would be a better source of information about America’s reading habits.