Reading habits and intelectual health in Moldova

According to Radio Guerilla on a day of  saturday - “For your intellectual health, it is recommended you read at least 20 pages of book per day”.

The world of books is a fascinating world for those willing to dedicate their time discovering it. For many of us, the activity of reading books reminds us of the school years. Due to the fact that our society has not yet managed to adopt the “continuous learning” approach, for many pupils/students, reading books stops being a concern immediately as they leave the school or the university. When we get older, the list of our responsibilities increases dramatically, and many of us can’t afford to enjoy a good book in a comfortable armchair. This pleasure had been replaced with less intellectually-challenging activities, such as the bill-paying marathon or the never-ending weekly house clean-ups.

To find out how often Moldovans read, Magenta Consulting performed a study on a sample of 1400 respondents from 24 towns of Moldova (error margin of +/-2,6%). The first conclusion that could be drawn from the study is that 60% of Moldavians do read books. The study also revealed that reading is a very usual activity for both the respondents with post-graduate studies (master degree, PhD), as well as for those with incomplete secondary education. These two categories have accumulated the greatest weight among all respondents reading more than 8 books per year (17% and 18% respectively). Majority of respondents who do not read at all have declared monthly incomes higher that 9000 MDL (74%) and this could be explained by the fact that those people who secure their families with higher incomes, have very soliciting jobs, and at the end of the day are too busy or tired to read a book. When analyzing the number of books read by people, from the point of view of their marital status, we notice a quite interesting trend - once the marital status changes, the weight of those reading books is decreasing. As follows, 66% of the single people like to read, 60% of those living together (concubinage), 54% of the married respondents, 52% of the divorced ones, and only 50% of widows take a book in their hands in order to read it.

Figure 1. Number of books read during one year, based on the marital situation, %

No matter how little time we have, we ought to maintain a good level of intellectual health (if not by reading, then by other useful activities). The Insight Journal writes that „reading is a great way to learn new things, but if you’re not into reading, there are other things you can do to support your Intellectual Wellness. You can include positive media sources, like radio programs, news and TV that promotes an Aspect of Wellness. You can exercise your mind by creating your own art, picking up some new skills from a community college course or learning about a new hobby. You can learn more about your culture with a visit to a history museum. You can change the way you perceive the world with a trip to a play or an art museum. All of this leads to greater Intellectual Wellness. And, if you do decide to read, you don’t have to read boring literature. You can read romance novels, magazines, or newspapers.”

Given this situation, we have decided to verify if the participants at the study who usually do not like reading, go to the theatre or attend concerts, in order to maintain their intellectual wellness. The study revealed some data that have a pessimistic tendency: considering that those respondents who read books, go to the theater more seldom than once a month (17%), then those respondents who don’t read at all, don’t go neither to concerts nor to film screenings, or theater shows (51%).

A society with a high level of intellectual wellness is one in which the decisions are discussed and are not imposed; where children are growing as creative and curious individuals, able to bring innovative solutions for tomorrow’s problems. Due to the fact that we all want to live in such a society, we encourage each and everyone to read, attend cultural events and convince the others to join you as well, especially as Chisinau is the hub of cultural events in this month of May!