From: Robert Bridge <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 27 Mar 2007
Subject: Response to Nabi Abdullaev/ JRL #73 Reading
If I may, I'd like to briefly comment on what I thought to be a rather misleading article by Nabi Abdullaev of The Moscow Times in the last JRL.
Opening his article about the alleged lack of reading in Russia, Abdullaev quotes 14-year-old Yulia Ageyeva, who "grasped for words when asked to name any book that she had read aside from those assigned in school last year."
I don't know if Nabi has any children who attend a Russian school, but for those who do know that there would be very little time left for reading books "aside from those assigned in school last year."
Last year, my daughter, who attends a regular public school in Moscow, was assigned to read about 40 books over the summer break. Of course, she was lucky if she made it through half the list, but that's not bad for a single summer. Yes, she even managed to catch up on some Harry Potter in the interim.
While nobody doubts that reading is slipping around the world due to modern technologies, and other distractions, I would argue that the death of reading in Russia has been greatly exaggerated.