You’ve probably heard the oft repeated phrase “no one reads anymore.” Alarming statistics about reading habits of young Arabs are summed up in the closing line of the Jordanian documentary film Six Minutes (Alabdallah 2005):“The Arab child reads about six minutes every year outside of school curriculum.” Leah Caldwell, correspondent for the Lebanese publication Al Akbar calls this claim “outlandish”. She categorizes this claim and others like it as myth rather than reality.
As an author and academic reading is an essential part of my everyday life and profession. So I assembled a research team to ask students around Qatar whether or not they read for pleasure. Here are some of the highlights.