The mark of a true American -- or, at least, the part of America that I live in, is how we all look for answers in books. A friend could suggest one book -- or a few -- to read.
I am one of those people who looks for enlightenment through books. While some people seek out the Bible for that sole purpose, for me, though I understand its necessary nature for those who are Protestant, it is insufficient.
I'm probably not alone in thinking this way because there are so many English-language books. Add to the books the magazines and the newspapers and the result is humility.
I'm not kidding. While the ability to read has been highly lauded for American parents, schools and society (Hooked on Phonics comes to mind), it is impossible to read all of the content that is out there:
1) You have a life. We all need time for our jobs (or looking for one), time with friends, family and other people we hold in some esteem, time to take care of ourselves (e.g. exercise and cooking dinner), time to do errands, making time for other forms of entertainment, etc. While reading is an enjoyable activity, it can't be the only activity that is done during the waking hours.
2) Logistical limits. If one ever decides to try to read all of the books, magazines and newspapers in the world, one would have to spend a lot of money doing so. Also, you have to have enough space where you live to do it.
3) Not all books are the same. If you're an adult, most likely you are not going to read children's books unless you have children of your own. Plus, not all books are the same when it comes to quality -- some books are better than others. Also, we all have subjects that we are more inclined to read than others.
Hence my humility.