Can You Name a Book? Jimmy Kimmel Found People Who Couldn’t

The statistics are not encouraging. According to Pew Research, 24 percent of American adults say they haven’t read a book in the past year. That means any book. One in print, on an iPad, or in audio form. Even a children’s book. Pew dissected the demographics. (You can click here to read more about the survey.) But putting that aside, I found the fact that people are not reading books disheartening. Yes, I’ve written books and after launching a publishing company, have helped others to publish their books. And book reviews are a stable on Woman Around Town. The writers who contribute to the site love to read and love to recommend books they have enjoyed to others.

Barbara Bush who died recently, was known for her love of reading. Her interest in literacy issues began after her son, Neil, struggled with dyslexia. The former first lady made it her mission to encourage reading. The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, a non-profit organization based in Florida, has as its focus preschool children and parental literacy. She even wrote a book credited to the family dog called Millie’s Book: As Dictated to Barbara Bush. The book reached number one on the New York Times list and earned more than a million dollars, which she donated to her foundation.

It’s no secret that a love for reading often begins in childhood and parents who read to their children, not only get to spend valuable time together, but also share wonderful stories. J.K. Rowling was credited with igniting an interest in reading for young and old alike because of her Harry Potter series. 

Yet when Jimmy Kimmel sent a camera crew out into the streets to ask people to name a book – any book – those on camera couldn’t name even one. Perhaps having a microphone thrust in one’s face caused some people to freeze up. But even that excuse fell short. One woman couldn’t name a book and when asked what she did, she said she was once a librarian! Yikes!

The Jimmy Kimmel segment ended with a public service announcement featuring Shaquille O’Neal saying: “All you have to do is pick up a book. Because when you do, adventures come to you.” 

Amen. (And that’s from one book – the Bible.)

Top photo: Bigstock

About Charlene Giannetti (379 Articles)
Charlene Giannetti, editor of Woman Around Town, is the recipient of seven awards from the New York Press Club for articles that have appeared on the website. A graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Charlene began her career working for a newspaper in Pennsylvania, then wrote for several publications in Washington covering environment and energy policy. In New York, she was an editor at Business Week magazine and her articles have appeared in many newspapers and magazines. She is the author of 13 non-fiction books, eight for parents of young adolescents written with Margaret Sagarese, including "The Roller-Coaster Years," "Cliques," and "Boy Crazy." She and Margaret have been keynote speakers at many events and have appeared on the Today Show, CBS Morning, FOX News, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and many others. Her last book, "The Plantations of Virginia," written with Jai Williams, was published by Globe Pequot Press in February, 2017. Her podcast, WAT-CAST, interviewing men and women making news, is available on Soundcloud and on iTunes. She is one of the producers for the film "Life After You," focusing on the opioid/heroin crisis that completed filming on February 1, 2020. Charlene divides her time between homes in Manhattan and Alexandria, Virginia.