“I’ve never read a book”

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In a bookshop this afternoon I overhead a conversation between two teen girls as they approached the music book section. It went something like this:

Girl 1 – Do you think it is around here?

Girl 2 – I don’t know, I have never been here.

Girl 1 – Really?

Girl 2 – I don’t read books.

Girl 1 – Really?  Why not?

Girl 2 – I’m not interested.  (short pause) Well, I’ve read 2 books…

Unfortunately I don’t know if she said what those two books were as the girls moved away and I couldn’t hear them anymore.

Maybe some kids are not lucky enough to be read bed time stories or get books as gifts, but surely they are still learning literature and reading books in school. Or does that not happen anymore?

How can a 15-16 year old girl never have read a book? I know that compared to when I was a child there are many more sources of entertainment – computers, computer games, (spending the day) instant messaging friends and so on, but I cannot imagine how it is possible to go through those first years of life without books…