In a recent ranking of "Most Literate Cities" by the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, my home city of Baton Rouge ranked #30 of 79. We're in the top half, beh-bih! The other two Louisiana cities ranked are New Orleans (43) and Shreveport (50). (Only cities of 200,000 or more people were studied.)
The study, conducted "to measure the public's propensity for reading," draws from a variety of sources, including U.S. Census data, newspaper circulation rates, magazines published, library resources, booksellers, and educational attainment level.
Of course, who knows how accurate these things are. Still, it's nice to see that our Louisiana cities aren't at the bottom of the barrel. That spot is taken by El Paso, Texas.
Here are the Top 10, plus a few that are of interest to me personally:
1. Minneapolis, MN
2. Seattle, WA
3. Pittsburgh, PA
4. Madison, WI
5. Cincinnati, OH
6. Washington, DC
7. Denver, CO
8. Boston, MA
9. Portland, OR
10. San Francisco, CA
11. Columbus, OH
28. Charlotte, NC
30. Baton Rouge, LA
43. New Orleans, LA
50. Shreveport, LA
53. Greensboro, NC
Cities are also ranked by education, publications, newspapers, libraries, and booksellers.
By the way, the cities with the most booksellers (retail and rare/used) per 10,000 population are San Francisco, Cincinnati, Seattle, Madison, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Louisville, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Scottsdale, AZ.
My favorite bookstores are Cottonwood Books (Baton Rouge), Maple Street Book Shop (New Orleans), and Malaprops (Asheville). My all-time favorite is Elliott's (Baton Rouge), which unfortunately had to close down in the 90s (thank you very much, B&N). Cottonwood is great because they have a mix of used and new (and the new books are all GOOD books), and they have Danny, who is so friendly and helpful, and obviously has a love for books himself.
Anyone want to practice using the comment feature? (See my "Be Anonymous" post of earlier today.) What is your favorite bookstore?