What he found was that since the propagation of broadcast media, all across America, people have been consistently disengaging from society, traveling less, going the movies less, voting less, attending meetings for items of public interest less, meeting friends for activities less and even joining bowling leagues in smaller and smaller numbers. The effects that he found of increasing civic disengagement ranged from economic strife to political instability and severe depression. And while it was a nation-wide phenomenon, Putnam found that the regions with a more engaged citizenry—one more likely to go to movies in the park or stroll through a business district with friends, one with a full roster of bowling leagues and sewing circles—were more likely to prosper.
But I know what you're thinking: not every activity is a social one. Reading, for example. And isn't Bowling Alone a book?
Well, you got me there. It's a book. But reading doesn't have to be solitary. In fact, many would put forth that an outlet to discuss and share what you've read with other interested parties augments the experience.
Before you pronounce that as grade-A hogwash, why not swing by the Library! at Hillcrest at 7 p.m. for their monthly book club? See if there's anything to it. I know, I know, the TV is calling. But Lost is done. And so is 24. Battlestar finished up years ago. So unless they're running a STTNG marathon, ( I checked; they aren't) that means there's nothing else left on TV. So, why not make the world a better place by taking your place in it?
This month's book is Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier.