Is reading really becoming a thing of the past? I highly doubt it. But it is becoming less popular and this makes me sad.
When I look at my teenager I want to weep with frustration, for many, many, reasons, one of which is that he has zero interest in reading.
When I was his age (14) I was reading 3 or 4 books a week.
I’ve always encouraged him to read, never pressured, I’ve just given him gentle nudges towards books, mentally and physically.
We read every day when he was a small child. He had bookcases full of books but he just never became a bookworm.
I don’t want to blame technology completely, as I do know of some teenagers (okay maybe I know of 1) who love to read and to be honest, I don’t think reading was overly popular with my friends when I was a teenager and we didn’t have the lure of Fortnite or mobile phones, so it’s not all about computers and tablets ruining a good old fashioned book.
I don’t really recall my parents doing much reading when I was younger neither, although I was probably too busy with my own books to remember what they were reading and I do know that they both enjoy reading now and so does my brother, so ultimately we are a family of readers.
Unfortunately, that seed seems to have done a runner from my son. My gentle persuasions of,
“Oh look at this book, you might enjoy this one”
“I’ve bought you this one, I thought you’d find it interesting”, have fallen on deaf ears.
However, we were in Spain earlier this year, staying at my Mum’s apartment where she has collections of books which belong to her and my step-dad, Christopher picked up a book and started to read… I know, it was extraordinary! I was perplexed and ever so proud.
‘What was the book?’ I hear you ask… well that’s not important…is it?
Okay, so it was Ross Kemp ‘Gangs’, but you know what? I don’t even care. He was reading a book! And that to me is wonderful.
Reading is a great form of escapism, a way to be someone else, discover exciting new lands, worlds, fall in love, cry your heart out or laugh your head off, all from looking at some printed ink on a piece of paper. They really are incredible.
It would be easy to blame technology, the X-Box, PlayStations, etc. They’ve given children a different form of escape, an instant gratification escape. Not only that but they have so many other things on offer too, Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat. These are all instantly live; entertainment at their fingertips, they don’t even have to think, they just sit and stare. To them books must seem ever so dull, this makes me sad.
Their imaginations are going to waste.
I won’t give up on Christopher though, if all he ever reads are Mafia and Gang books, then so be it. I’ll continue to encourage him and I’ll continue to bring him books that I think he might like and one day he might surprise me, I will never expect him to read 700-page novels but even a Ross Kemp book is better than nothing…
I have no doubt that technology and social media can live harmoniously alongside books. They can have a wonderful partnership. If it wasn’t for social media I would never have met some of the most incredible authours on this planet and those incredible authors wouldn’t be able to showcase their creations instantly with the world.
And it is the power of social media that is harnessed for the promotion of such inspiring events like the UK Indie Lit Fest! An event that brings together authors from all genres, from all over the UK and even gives us the chance to interact with writers from all over the world. Social media can be used for the greater good for writers, authors and books.
I love them both equally, books for giving me a place to escape to that’s mine alone; we may read the same books but I doubt that my image of a death eater was the same as yours.
And social media for giving me a chance, a chance to promote MY creations and to meet the like-minded, very fabulous authors who I now have very strange conversations with on Facebook, about pieces of meat watering heart-shaped flowers or borrowing their oven to cook goats in… Yeah, exactly. It’s okay, we’re writers.
One is as one is, and the love that can’t encompass both is a poor sort of love – Marya Mannes