We are reading more than we ever have before as a society. Yet we are exploring, learning, retaining, memorizing, exemplifying, retelling, and plain old storytelling less. In sheer quantity, we ‘read’ more now then ever, but “Reading code, computer printouts, operation manuals, milk cartons, instant messaging, emails, instruction sheets, promotional material, condo by-laws, Twitter and Facebook, online posts, political blogs and the like is not what is meant by reading in any significant sense.”
So says David Solway says in his examination of our loss of personal growth through reading for reflection and rumination, “Whatever Happened to Reading?” I agree. Nowadays, it truly is an heroic act to read for enjoyment, edification, or even education. It may even take heroic effort for most to attempt it, with how inundated we’ve become with the idea that we are reading, but unlike eating anything any and all of the time, simply running our eyes across text does NOT fill, fulfill, or feed us. Just like a hero choosing to be heroic, choosing to read is a a personal decision to act, often in a way that forces sacrifice of some sort. Read: or watch TV? Read: or go to the bar? Read: or play a video game? Humans do what is easiest and most comfortable for themselves, and I get it: reading for personal betterment is no longer ‘cool,’ or ‘fun,’ or ‘easy,’ or ‘comfortable.’ It’s often considered boring and dumb and insignificant. I give you the current state of American society as Exhibit A as to why those are all terribly inaccurate adjectives.
Be a hero: read the linked article. Then be even more heroic and grab a book. Any topic, any genre, any author, any publisher. Just grab a book and determine to read it through in 2021. What’s the worse that could happen – you swapped some text from your digital life for some other text. Your eyes will thank you, and hopefully your brain.