America is facing a reading crisis. According to a government survey the number of adults who read for pleasure has fallen by more than 30% in less than 15 years.
Another recent study found that Americans watch an average of three hours of TV a day, compared to less than half-an-hour spent reading.
"Reading is seeing the world through someone else's eyes", says Professor Joseph Luzzi of Bard College , our guest in this episode.
"Social media is a mirror," says Joseph. "You look into it and your tastes and interests are reflected back on you. Literature is a prism. You look into it and you are engaged, as Virginia Wolfe said, with the mind of someone else."
The decline in reading and the popularity of social media may have profound impacts on democracy, feeding into our deep partisan division, and reinforcing extreme opinions.
We discuss how reading Dante helped save Joseph after he became a widower and a father on the same day. We also learn about his 4-for-45 prescription for how reading literature can bring pleasure enlightenment to our daily lives.