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November 3, 2012 Posted by | Photo | , | Leave a comment

More Reading is More Reading?

Once again, I was reminded of the story I heard a year or two ago. It seems people are reading way less literature these days. The reason is because they own Kindle-Nooks and no one can see what they’re reading on the subway/bus/lunchroom/whatever. It seems that most people really want to read 50 Lamp Shades of Amber or whatever disreputable piece of shit is hot right now, but are afraid that people they’ll never actually talk to will judge them.

So what you have is a society where people read Life of Pi because they thought they should rather than it being a rewarding book to read. That is, if it’s actually rewarding to read it, I wouldn’t know. I heard the description and decided that I probably didn’t need to read it. I have seen this sentiment repeated in many places, that people are now reading only what they want to because no one can tell what they’re reading. That’s sad though, why would you do something you don’t want to because you’re worried about what people might think? Why wouldn’t you do something, or hide what you’re doing because of what people might think? Again, people who will probably never utter a single syllable in your direction or even in your hearing.

It makes me sad in another way though, because how will people get sucked into reading A Brief History of Time now? Okay, maybe only a third of the people who own that book ever opened it, but that’s still a lot of people reading science. A slight amount of pressure has lead people into some really great finds and without that pressure, will they find those things? It’s easy to find things, but it’s so very hard to get a reliable answer on “Will I like this?”, because I think the idea of proper criticism has broken down somewhat. I really need to expand that idea to explain what I mean, but not just now. Suffice to say, critics aren’t being used for that purpose so much these days and some of them aren’t even trying towards that end.

I read a lot of crap. Yes, a whole lot of it. However, I’ve also hurled Moby Dick at a wall and swore at it for three full hours. I can’t say I’ve read it, reading it means getting more than half way through and not hurling profanities at sheets of dried pulpwood. I left my comfort zone and I didn’t like it, but at least I tried. My point is that I worry people aren’t going to try to leave their comfort zone anymore. I already see that trend in movie watching groups. I’ve had trouble getting someone who only watches Hong Kong Action movies to sit and watch Bullit long enough to get to the good parts. I can only imagine convincing someone who only reads Harry Potter and his knock offs to give The Dain Curse a try.

The reason this concerns me, is less about entertainment and more about the whole person. If you never step outside your comfort zone, how will you find new and interesting experiences in order to grow into a full person. If you’re not willing to say “Yeah, I like 50 Shades of Off-White” how will you ever tell people you also get aroused watching football games? And what of the person who really LIKES Tolstoy? War and Peace is a long motherfucker to read, but it can be well worth it. Or even to listen to it, I’ve had audiobooks since the 80s, no one has been able to glance at the cover of my books for 25 years. Maybe that’s why I don’t care, I came up that way.

I have no answers, I am merely commenting on a thought.

November 3, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

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IMGP7196 by greyweirdo
IMGP7196, a photo by greyweirdo on Flickr.

November 3, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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IMGP7073 by greyweirdo
IMGP7073, a photo by greyweirdo on Flickr.

November 3, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment