In The Daily Beast, on October 3 of last year, Seth Lehrer made a comparison between J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books and her new, adult novel, The Casual Vacancy, reflecting in particular on the role of literacy in the stories. He writes:
“Unlike the Hogwarts students, the adults who populate the Pagford of The Casual Vacancy…are not readers. They do not ride into imagined worlds; they do not fill their lives with books. The conflict of the novel hinges on competing institutions” and “those who try to escape them. In a world without books, there are only drugs.”
I know Lehrer is talking about a fictitious world, but isn’t that a stark reality of our own literate societies as well?