Are We Losing The Art Of Reading?

Posted on June 17, 2014 in Culture-Vulture, Education

By Jhalak Agarwal:

There was a time when people used to love reading books and they used to read books only for their own pleasure. Can we say that this is still true? In the present time when life is moving at such a fast pace, how will people have the time to read books? Books are not the only pastime left anymore. They have evolved many new hobbies that have substituted reading in some way or the other. The art of reading seems to be lost somewhere.

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Books have always been a medium by which we escape the reality and go into a fantasy world where we are not burdened by responsibilities and where we can do as we please. They take us to a magical place which can be a fairy-tale, a story full of ghosts or a wartime epic. There are no boundaries and no right or wrong in books. We get to take our pick about the kind of story we want to get into. We can relive the Ramayana or Mahabharata through the books anytime we want.

But if we want to get into the story of a book, we need a lot of patience and focus which we seem to be losing these days. We keep running after our life and just don’t get the time to calm down and relax even for a bit. We seem to be losing the art of reading as we have found alternatives for it. Rather than reading books like Harry Potter, we prefer to watch the movie instead. We can’t seem to invest the time that a book will take and try to look for alternatives if we can find any.

Also, a very interesting thing that has come up in the recent times is the way people try to fake cultural literacy. Many people just act like they read a lot of books in order to fit in with their peers and they feel like they will not be considered smart if anyone found out that they don’t read books. People don’t want to feel left out of conversations. To avoid such a situation, they just read about the book that seems to be the hot topic so that they can be a part of the conversation when their friends talk about it. Instead of investing the time to actually read that book, they just read the summary or the review to be able to talk about it.

Books are for your pleasure and to increase your knowledge. But this way, you learn nothing. You are just trying really hard to gain the acceptance of your peers and for that one should know that faking cultural literacy isn’t going to do the trick. This isn’t restricted to mere books. The same thing goes for TV series as well as sports. Well, with the Football World Cup going on, every moment there is an update by someone or the other about the score. How many of us actually watch and enjoy it? Some of us just want to prove to the others that we watch sports too and we are into football too. Is this really required? Can’t we just pretend to like the things we actually like?

Somewhere down the line, we have lost our commitment to these hard pages that we so eagerly used to stare at. There was a time when we used to grasp every single word of the book we used to read. Now, we just want to rush through the book so that we can get to the end and get it over with. This should not be our reason to read a book. We should read the book to enjoy it and to cherish it. We have these huge piles of books that we like to collect even if we read them or not. We think that they probably reflect our intelligence level but we must realize that a book has no value when it is just kept on your shelf. But a book becomes invaluable as soon as one reads it. One cannot put a price on knowledge or pleasure that is attained after reading a book.

It’s time for us to wonder whether pretending to have read a book is actually of any help or does it have no importance at all. Reading is an art. We must try to focus on giving ourselves entirely to the story that we are reading. We must become a part of Hogwarts while reading Harry Potter and we must be a part of Westeros while reading Game of Thrones. But this will be possible when we sit down and actually read the entire series rather than just reading about it on the internet to blend in with the others who seem to actually like it and read it.

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