What Happened to Reading?IB
Monkeys, something I've noticed a lot over the past few years is that fewer and fewer people seem to be reading for pleasure. Obviously, within the past 6 years of my life, I was a senior in high school for 1 year, in college for 3, and working for 2 -- all of these things leave little room for free time...right?
Well, not really -- come to think of it, during college I did have a lot of free time, and while working a non-finance job I had more free time than I knew what to do with. Even so, as a kid who grew up reading a lot of books throughout my elementary and middle school days, I find myself VERY rarely reading for pleasure these days.
The issue isn't that there aren't books that I want to read. For instance, I've had pretty limited exposure to American literature -- Faulkner, Mark Twain, James Fenimore Cooper -- and even have a list of fiction that I want to dig into. To top it all off, if you've been keeping up with my blog over the past month or so, you'll know that I am currently on an "extended vacation" during which I'm traveling and doing those things that I purportedly didn't have time for in college. Now is the time to crack those books, but...I haven't.
And it's not even American literature...it wouldn't kill me to read some Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, Dickens, Tolstoy, the list goes on and on. And why limit ourselves to fiction? Why not read some seminal works of political theory and philosophy -- from Aristotle to the Founding Fathers -- to get a better idea of how the world works and what role thinkers have historically played in its evolution.
Oh wait, Facebook. And eBay. And look, WallStreetOasis. Refresh, refresh, refresh. 2AM already? Zzzzzz...
So what does all this mean?
It's bizarre to think that, based on my own observations, people seem to be less likely to seek out reading materials on their own than they were even 20 years ago. Reading is a chore. It's something you do for that silly humanities class that you have to take despite being a finance major, and let's be real, who actually does the reading anyway? So will these classics be forgotten? Have we really entered an era where SparkNotes and the silver screen undermine the power and beauty of a novel like Les Miserables?
Hell, people even rarely read the "big" pop culture novels of today -- Twilight, Fifty Shades of Grey, Harry Potter, etc. These books require the attention span of a 5-year-old (literally) to get through, but nah, I'll just watch the movie, why bother reading. Note: I have not seen Twilight or any of the HP movies, and don't intend to.
Thoughts, monkeys? Do you read for pleasure? Do you feel that people today are reading less fiction and non-fiction than folks even 10 or 20 years ago? Is it good, is it bad? Discuss.
Thanks for reading. Now stop refreshing this page. #butseriously
"An intellectual is a man who takes more words than necessary to tell more than he knows."
- Dwight D. Eisenhower