Mark Zuckerberg thinks you don’t read enough books.
Putting his social media site where his mouth is and following in the Oprah book club footsteps Zuckerberg has launched a new Facebook community, “A Year of Books.” Like a social media book club. Without wine.
The Zuck is right about (at least) one thing; Americans aren’t reading books like they used to. According to the Pew Research Center:
Nearly a quarter of American adults have not read a single book in the past year. The number of NON-book-readers has nearly tripled since 1978.
Okay, cracking the spine of a new read or firing up the dusty Kindle reader is a good idea but does anybody really want Facebook gazillionaire Markie Z picking out the books you need to read? Maybe not. Probably not.
A Facebook/social media book club is not all that shiny and new but it is smart, especially when Mr. Facebook himself will be actively participating. Zuckerberg contends that people cannot live on reading social media posts alone – totally true.
The wonky part of his Facebook Book Club notion is that it turns preachy by sentence number two;
We will read a new book every two weeks and discuss it here. Our books will emphasize learning about new cultures, beliefs, histories and technologies.
Like the college prof who is always late for his own class this sounds like a lecture about the right things to be reading.
Cat videos, status updates, and dreary ambiguous “good thoughts needed” posts aren’t very mind-expanding. Check.
Books are mind-blowing. Check.
Any good book is mind expanding. Any reasonably good book is thought provoking too.
That’s the rub.
People who ENJOY reading, read.
But people have to find their own zen place when it comes to most of the books they choose to read. Reading should be enjoyed. Relished. Anticipated.
The New Yorker and lots other peeps credit The O for (re)popularizing book clubs AND reading:
…at a time when literature no longer has a monopoly on cultural relevance, Winfrey has been the reason why literature has any game left in it at all. She started the Book Club in 1996 as a segment on the nationally syndicated “Oprah Winfrey Show,” and the twenty-two books she picked in the first three years sold an average of one million four hundred thousand copies each.
Oprah and her book club captured the essence of fun-with-books by including books, authors and subject about all sorts of things. Smart books. Good books. Books that people loved and books that people loved to hate.
Some people enjoy reading about new cultures, beliefs, histories and technologies.
Some like mysteries or fiction or Fifty Shades of Gray.
Kudos for the passion Mr. Zuckerberg but note to self: keepin’ it real and keepin’ it occasionally fun might get more people reading.