The late comedian Bill Hicks talking about reading. (See the video here.)
“After the show, I went to a Waffle House. I'm not proud of it, I was hungry. And I'm eating, I'm alone and I'm reading a book, right? Waitress walks over to me:
'Hey, what you readin' for?'
Is that like the weirdest question you've ever heard? Not what am I reading, but what am I reading … for.
'Well, God damn it, you stumped me. Why do I read? Hmm … I guess I read for a lot of reasons, and the main one is … so I don't end up being a fuckin' waffle waitress.'
But then, this trucker in the next booth gets up, stands over me and goes:
'Well, looks like we got ourselves a reader.'
What the fuck's going on here? It's not like I walked into a Klan rally in a Boy George outfit, God damn it. It's a book!"
According to a study conducted by the Central Connecticut State University, Minneapolis was the most literate city in the country in 2007. In 2005 and 2006, Seattle was the most literate city. Now it is number two.
The study combines six criteria: bookstores, libraries, internet access, newspaper circulation, magazines published, and level of education. You can see the individual results for each category at the CCSU website. For instance, Seattle is still number one when it comes to bookstores (used and new). The study rated all U.S. cities with a population of at least 250,000.
A big surprise in this study was that Newark, New Jersey came in at number 69, dead last, in bookstores per capita. Apparently, there are hardly any bookstores at all in the town. Newark doesn't have a single Borders or Barnes & Noble, and the lone independent (not counting adult and Christian bookstores) closes at 4 p.m. daily. Last on the libraries list are Stockton, Santa Ana, Sacramento, Anaheim, and Los Angeles.
Here are the top ten cities in the bookstores category:
1 Seattle, WA
2 San Francisco, CA
3 Minneapolis, MN
4 Cincinnati, OH
5 St. Louis, MO
6 Portland, OR
7 Pittsburgh, PA
8 St. Paul, MN
9 Cleveland, OH
10 Washington, DC
Here are the least literate cities for 2007:
Long Beach, CA 60
Mesa, AZ 61
Arlington, TX 62
San Antonio, TX 63
Bakersfield, CA 64
Corpus Christi, TX 65
Aurora, CO 66
Anaheim, CA 67
El Paso, TX 68
Stockton, CA 69
Don't bring a book to the Waffle House in Stockton, if you know what's good for you.