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Good News: Californians Read

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Emmanuel Aguire | Photographer's Choice RF | Getty Images

That headline is apparently true, and the publishing industry rejoices.

USC and the Los Angeles Times report that "Californians are voracious readers and steadfast book lovers."

Really?

According to the results of a joint study, two out of three people in the Golden State like reading "a lot". Four out of five have read a book in the last month.

One in four read at least one book a week.

Researchers say this proves that books are not dead.

I say it proves something far more surprising: Californians read. Or claim to.

In a state where the high school dropout rate tops 20 percent, where people don't seem to be able to read (or write) anything beyond LOL, ICYMI, and NSFW, it's heartening to hear that locals actually crack open the occasional book.

And yet...

Here's a data point that sounds a bit like Hollywood hyperbole: 31 percent of Californians spend at least seven hours a week reading books for pleasure, 17 percent spend more than ten hours doing that.

Really?

Then there's this. As cities start cutting budgets — with libraries a favorite target — the study reveals that "the single most popular place for Californians to pick up a book is at the library. More than one-quarter (26 percent) of Californians get the majority of the books they read from the library, including 30 percent of Latinos surveyed."

Uh, really??

It took all of my limited reading comprehension skills to figure out why this study was done. It turns out that USC and the Times have released the survey just as the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is scheduled to be held this weekend...at USC.

I think we can read a few things into the timing.

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