‘There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.’ – Joseph Brodsky.
[ picture source: artsjournal weblog ]

If people are taught to prize reading, then does it really matter if they read on a computer or e-reader versus good old-fashioned paper?

I say YES it really matters. It’s amazing how much technology and the internet has completely transformed our literary culture. For a while it seemed so many people had abandoned books in favor of other entertainment and not surprisingly so much revolved around the accessibility of movies, music, facebook, twitter, etc through the internet. Don’t get me wrong- I think the internet is a useful tool and it’s amazing how much access we have to so much entertainment and tools with the click of a button right from the couch!

The average American reads about 7,000 words per day now thanks to the internet. It’s crazy when you stop to think about that. . . but even more interesting would be- how much of that reading do you retain? How much of it is coherent, rather than pure skimming of headlines, blogs, comments, tweets. . .
We all do it, obviously. Who has time to read through every word in an article or blog post, for example, unless they’re short. But are short blurbs better than actual, though-inducing articles? We could spend all day merely ” browsing” and looking at eye-catching pictures, and at the end of the off-and-on few hours I mean moments throughout the day, how productive have you been? How much of that “reading” is forming your intellect?

I encourage you to break out of the supposed “fast-paced internet-dominated literacy.” I say supposed, because it isn’t true literacy in the end- it just becomes a jumble of images or short blurbs that you either carry with you in the back of your mind, or forget rapidly for a while.

Spend some prolonged time holding, smelling, perusing, and devouring a book. For me there will always be something special about the tangible object that is a book, and the time dedicated to reading. I say dedicated because it forces you to set aside time actually focusing on one thing- the particular story (as oppose to not focusing longer than a minute or two on a blog post and clicking away from link to link. . . ) It’s rewarding to think that time is put to good use- you won’t easily forget those characters and their plights or the themes and symbols found in those pages. Hopefully getting lost in a good book will be a little escape from the fast-paced lives we lead or the many zillion to-do things on our ever-growing list. It’s important to give your mind a break from that overload from time to time.

[ picture source: passionate blog ]

So next time you have a little bit of time. . . I encourage you to put aside the computer- all those status changes, tweets and blogs are constantly changing- do you really need to always make such a huge effort to “keep up”? Take a mental break from trying to store up so much of every detail of everyone else’s current blurb. Invest time forming your own mind with a good book. Grab that book of the shelf- don’t just have them there for decorations hehe.

Relax! That page isn’t going to update itself and change on you the minute you pause to grab a drink or adjust the lamp.