I was talking to a friend not that long ago. Apparently she read some article or saw some news segment that said “a book is one of the worst gifts you can give to someone”. This baffled me. I thought, “What?! I love it if someone gives me a book! I also love it if someone gives me a gift card to buy books with! Why don’t people want books?!”
Apparently people just don’t like books any more. That is a massive tragedy for me because I love reading. The only time I read less is if I am just to busy with school and my brain is to overloaded with other information that I read to keep reading even more stuff (but I also watch a lot of TV to make up for it). Maybe I am like a sponge – always reading and sucking in information.
I grew up in a little town that didn’t have a bookstore. Maybe the local gift store would have a bookshelf that sold cutesy novels about forests and woodland creatures, feature a book by a local author, or the newest popular young adult book. The grocery store and Walmart would have a shelf of books, mostly consisting of cheap mysteries and romance novels and, again, a selection of popular young adult books. For someone who loved reading, this really just wasn’t cutting it. When I went to the city, which was every 4 months or so, I would have my parents take me to Chapters, and I would stock up on as many books as I could read over the next few months.
I think the kids in my grade 6 class thought I was weird when they’d spot me reading Star Wars novels under my desk. I probably was weird by the “cool kid” standard – maybe the cool kids pretended like they didn’t read books even if they did.
I still find it super weird how little people read. Why not? Why don’t people get excited to learn about ancient Egypt, Rome, or the Tudors, or Japan? Why don’t people want to immerse themselves in a fantasy world full of dragons and demons?
Mostly, I think people just want to watch TV. I think that it is the easier choice for people. I guess that there is all of this research that states people have super short attention spans. Heck, I am watching Bones while I type this. TV is great. So I thoroughly encourage watching TV. But I also encourage reading books.
I became a mentor when I was in university to a young 13 year old girl. She loved reading and because so few people read books, I encouraged this in more ways than I could possibly imagine. I’d take her to the library every week or every other week, and I’d take her to the book store to occasionally buy a book (made possible by a bursary through the organization I volunteered through).
It’s interesting because sometimes I meet other people who also absolutely love reading and it’s so refreshing to be able to sit down and say “I read this book and it was about this and you should read it too” or to be able to bring a book to a friend and say “I just finished this book. I think you’d like it, so here you go”.
If I could challenge everyone to do one thing it would be to read exactly 1 book a month, or at least a book every 2 months or so. This blog has a number of book reviews that people could sift through to pick out their books.
Have a good day folks!