When a generation refuses to read.

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“A room without books is like a body without a soul.” ― Cicero Why is it that we constantly hear people say that one should read books and that reading books is a great habit to have? There would have been nothing difficult to comprehend in this statement had we been in the pre-internet era but why the emphasis on reading books continues to prevail even today, when we have the internet to satisfy our deep thirst for knowledge? This is something that we need to understand. Reading books is a lot more than just visiting the web pages for different sorts of information. Every book takes you on a whole new journey where you start visualizing everything and start interacting with others. You start to expand your array of information and start exploring the world through books.

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It’s a great debate these days – Do actual books make sense in today’s world of e-books? We have a whole section of gadgetry devoted to lean us off the good old hard backs and paper backs. We have the makers of e book readers guaranteeing a much, much greater reading experience which is economical (in the long run) and portable and efficient. They spend millions and millions of dollars every year trying to perfect a true-to-life reading experience so that they can promise the customers ‘the real thing’. Which makes me think, why not just sell books?!
Because however advanced a tab or a book reader may become, it will always fall short of an actual book. The kind of physical reassurance that an actual book provides cannot be matched. Let us take an example here – think of the first time you read your favorite novel, be it a sappy love story or a crime thriller or a murder mystery. And now think of your reactions to those stories – how you hugged the book when the girl and the boy kiss for the very first time and it almost seemed to hug back like it understood, how you turned the pages with shaking hands right after the murder, how your heart started beating faster when you just knew that the murderer is about to be unveiled. Remember all those emotions, that adrenaline, the passion you felt all because of the book that you were clutching in your hands. Now, however advanced any book reader of the world may be, it won’t be able to bring out all these amazing emotions out from the bottom of your heart when you read on it. That ecstacy which you feel while turning the page as you reach the climax of an amazing thriller can not be matched by swiping on a listless flat screen. People buy e book readers and then stock up on e books because they think it’s a more efficient (and economical) way to read. A lot of parents these days introduce their children to such gadgets at a very early age because apparently that’s the only way left for them to encourage them to read. Really? That doesn’t say much about the parenting skills of these times! I remember watching my grandfather carry a book with him where ever he went. Even when he had five minutes of spare time, he would quickly settle down and get on with his book. Just watching him read so attentively, taking such good care of all his books and novels made me want to read to – watching him be so, so passionate about it all made me passionate too, and this is the passion that I carry with me every single day. He taught me by example – the best possible way to teach a child. These are the values, the habits that need to be passed onto the next generation, unless you want to raise a generation of idiots( which actually is a more likely possibility now, even more possible than the impending environmental disaster that we are heading towards!)
And to those who say that they are really reading on their kindles and tabs and e-book readers I sask a simple question – are you REALLY reading? Or let me rephrase that, Are you really reading REGULARLY? Studies show that a staggering 70% of those who go out an buy these ‘advanced’ book readers use it eventually with a lot of zeal (which lasts about two to three books) and then with time discard it completely. And studies or no studies, the reason for this is simple – we have forgotten to inculcate the children of today with the habit of sitting down and opening a much loved book – even a newspaper for that matter – and getting lost in it. Some of the best journeys that I have take have been the ones when I havnt moved an inch!
so basically the debate over reading habits and reading technology aside, what we really need to concentrate on (and debate on) is what kind of generation we are raising who don’t even care at all for the written word? How is there not a bigger, stronger debate on this? Maybe because nowadays no one has the time – or the attention span – to sit down and read this!