Cracking Open a Book: Physically vs Technically

From the day that I could read an entire book by myself, I have always enjoyed the art of reading. It’s something about the way the author puts together characters and a plot to make a fictional universe that takes you away from reality. What I’ve come to realize in this generation is that most people would rather go online and read about the latest celebrity gossip or their friends’ tweets than delve into the world of fiction literature.

In Christine Rosen’s article “In The Beginning Was The Word”, she discusses how our world today is so technologically based that we can’t enjoy words on a piece of paper anymore. Instead, we would rather enjoy it from a screen and in a short amount of time. Rosen goes on to say that “our willingness to follow a writer on a sustained journey that may at times be challenging and frustrating is less compelling than our expectation of being conveniently entertained.” We are officially in the age where if we want to know something about anything, we can have it in 10 seconds or less thanks to smartphones and portable computers.  Rosen describes how technology has changed our views of the word, both positively and negatively

What the screen gives us is pleasurable, but it is not the same kind of experience as deeply engaged reading; the “screen literacy” praised by techno-enthusiasts should be seen as a complement to, not a replacement of, traditional literacy….we find ourselves in the position of living in a highly literate society that chooses not to exercise the privilege of literacy–indeed, it no longer views literacy as a privilege at all.

Whatever happened to the days where newspapers was the only way to get the news of what’s going on in our world? How long has it been since you curled up in a chair and read a good novel? We are so in touch with our lives in a technological sense that everything else that we had grown up with has the potential of being thrown away. It’s great to be saving tress by using less paper but it also takes away the patience we used to have for getting a newspaper every morning or waiting a few months for the next book to be released. Who’s to say that we can’t still have that in our lives?

As I read this article, it had a lot of great points of today’s society in accounts of literacy but it made me think of how much reading a book is still involved in our lives. Recently, the book series “50 Shades of Grey” by E.L. James has been selling out in bookstores nationwide and it looked like hope has risen for books once again. Plus The New York Times Bestseller List is still booming with new titles of books which must mean that some of us still have an appreciation for the world of fiction. I didn’t have the time to buy the physical books of the 50 Shades of Grey series but I did manage to get all 3 books on my iBooks app on my iPhone. Even though I read it on the screen, it doesn’t take away the fact that it’s still a book nonetheless. Some people see it as a way to save trees and still get in a good read while on the go. The real question is: how long will we last in slow & steady fictional world before our attention moves back to fast & ready technology?

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