I love books but my reading habits vary. I can go for a very long time without reading fiction. It’ll be educational books and “how to” books. (My Photoshop book collection is a thing of legend.) But I love books.
My sister is a big reader. When she lost a lot of her eyesight many years ago, she fell into a deep depression (this would be expected). She said that a lot of the cause for her depression was not being able to read. For two years, she was really depressed. She listened to books on tape, but it wasn’t the same. Then she was able to get this machine that would magnify the text of any book, and she said that her depression immediately lifted. She feels like she got her life back when she was able to read again.
She also says that reading anything—anything—is better than not reading. She has read a lot of Harlequin Romances in her time (used to have a subscription with Harlequin and got new books each month). She was never ashamed of this (made jokes, but never was ashamed), because it was reading, and reading is good. I agree with her on this.
Both of us have good reading comprehension, a good vocabulary, and good English skills (well, better than average) because we read. I read a lot of Harlequin Romances when I was a teenager and I occasionally read them today (right now I’m mainlining Harlequins in Spanish, to help me learn the language). I don’t feel ashamed of this. I know it has helped me. Spelling and vocabulary tests in school were always a breeze for me, in part because I liked to read. Doesn’t matter what I read—I read. So, in my opinion, I’m respectful of anyone who reads anything (just about). Because I think there is great benefit in reading for pleasure.
I also believe that sometimes (not always) those who read for pleasure read faster and more efficiently. Okay, maybe not always faster (though almost every ‘reader’ I know reads faster than average), but it’s not a chore. It’s not torture. And that’s a benefit too.
But, with all that said, I feel a certain snobbishness towards those who are passive consumers of any form of entertainment—whether it be reading, TV, movies, music, anything. The article linked in the OP mentions something of this—that reading is passive. You aren’t writing anything, you aren’t creating anything, you are just absorbing stuff. I don’t necessarily admire someone who just absorbs and consumes all the time. Come on! Do something! Sew a shirt! Surf! Do something! I know a few people who absorb and consume, consume, consume, and sometimes, it’s kind of true—they aren’t always that interesting. (It depends. Can they have articulate and insightful discussions about the stuff they consume? Then they are not boring.) Some of the most exciting conversations can be had with people who are passionate about creating something or working on a new project. They may or may not be big readers, but if they are all fired up about working on something, then usually they are not boring. So I guess I’m trying to say that even though I respect and admire reading, I realize that on its own, it’s not always enough.