Are Book Readers Becoming Extinct?

Reading for enjoyment

Many of us, in everyday life, spend a hefty proportion of our time reading. The reasons for this reading will vary from person to person. Mostly, though, it will either be for the purposes of keeping up with the news, or for work purposes. This is a perfectly good reason for reading, of course. There is, however, some sense of injustice in the fact that merely living is taking the element of fun out of something that we used to do almost entirely for pleasure. Reading a book just because we want to do so, as a simple pleasure, is something that disappointingly few of us are doing. There are numerous reasons for this, and they say a lot about how the meaner side of human nature has taken hold among many of us.

There is a sense among a sadly growing number of people that reading is simply something for the college kids and the wannabe intellectuals. Who reads for pleasure these days, people will seriously ask, when we have DVDs, cinemas and the TV for our entertainment? There is even an element of distrust shown towards those of us who like to read. It is a massive shame, but it seems that there is a tendency to dumb things down and to actually wear ignorance as a badge of honour. Just to clarify things, there is nothing shameful about cracking a book every once in a while and reading for fun. Don’t be concerned about people looking at you in a slightly dimmer way just because you enjoy the written word. It is something that gives life a bit of flavour. A good book can take you outside the confines of the everyday and turn free time into dream time.

Now, this is not an order to go out and read the classics. If you don’t like Shakespeare you don’t have to read him. If Dickens doesn’t do anything for you, don’t buy his books. It really isn’t about who you read, or even what you read. It’s about why. And the fact is that sometimes reading for pleasure can make a real difference. It relaxes you physically while at the same time exercising your mind. Even a fairly simple and pedestrian novel that won’t win any awards will keep your brain functioning at a higher level, exercise that it needs in order to keep operating at the level you are used to.

So, if you have a favourite childhood book that always used to make you laugh or smile, why not pick that up once more? If a friend is reading something that they deem excellent, ask if you can borrow it when they’ve finished with it. Reading just for the sake of pleasure is something that makes us richer as a people, and something that should survive the prospect of being sneered at. It really is good fun, and we should see it as such. Find a new favourite author and read as many books as you can find, and before too long you’ll be reading a couple of books a week!

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to Ahmed Dawn Dot Com site. This article originally published on the above website on June 14, 2009.