Scrolling through my Twitter feed led me to this “innocuous” tweet from Goodreads–
And it got me thinking:-
i) Why there is so much brouhaha these days around “reading” as if it can resurrect dead?
ii) Why in order to succeed/ take a good morning dump you need to read books?
iii) Why society has a bee in its bonnet when it comes to parents not pushing children enough to read?
Here, I’d like to clarify that I’m not a parent. And see read when parents pester me (the child-free by choice one) for breeding. So there is no love lost between “they” and “us”.
But it gets on my nerve every time parents get a bad rap when kids don’t read (for pleasure, not for the sake of literacy).
And this is coming from a voracious reader herself. I find it the blame-game shallow. Why?
1) There is no incentive in reading
I believe social media is a great mirror to what’s transpiring in society and all that jazz.
Most of the topics on knowledge sharing digital platforms (Quora, Medium etc.) revolve around “coding”, “crypto” and “tech-bro culture”.
Independent online publishers like Electric Literature gathers dust in comparison to articles like:
‘’How showering at 6.00 AM would make you a millionaire”.
And “Medium” was supposed to attract “woke” readers!
Harsh truth: There is no incentive in reading for pleasure.
I’ve closest kith and kin working in academia and I’ve seen second-handed the repercussions of jealousy, “cut-throat” ness, and pettiness practiced in this field.
Just like these are prevalent in other industries.
And academics are supposed to be great readers, right? I mean that the part of their earning bread and dairy-free butter.
If you’re pretty shitty in nature, then you’ll remain so even if you can quote “Twelfth Night” verbatim.
2) The myth surrounding “reading” is just..a myth
Over the years, “reading” has become one-cure-fixes-it-all.
- Don’t have any friend? Read a book and bask in your inflated glory.
- Your colleagues constantly talk about Netflix and you want to rise above those “buggers”? Pick a book.
- Feeling depressed that shits have hit the fan? Read, read, read.
And how did I know the “hollowness” of them all? ‘Cause I used to feel like that and now coming out of spell.
Reading can be mind-expanding. But so is watching documentaries on Netflix. Or listening to Sir David Attenborough.
If I want to learn more about grave topics like climate change, the war in Middle-East, I would reach out for a resource that is far more visceral in nature.
A couple in my pool of relatives watched “Schindler’s List” together with their son, when the boy was just 6 years old!
And he turned out sane- now a thriving 17-years old with a keen passion for history and theater.
Whether it’s irresponsible parenting or not, I don’t know.
To feel empathetic to a set of people or fate of a nation, a movie can be as powerful a medium like a book (if not more).
3) Reading makes one smarter…not necessarily.
I was reading about a mental health survivor’s story who found the way out through computer games.
It was a moving tale. And the writer sounds like nice human being- trying to encourage others to heal.
It could’ve been a great rebuttal for folks who start casting aspersions to parents whose kids prefer video games to books.
Don’t get me wrong.
Sitting in front of a computer and being horizontally stretched over the years is pretty unhealthy for a child. So is burning nose in a book. I used to do the latter as a kid.
And reading might have helped me a great deal to be a pretty non a**-hole but it effed me up in other ways. It helped zero to solve my introversion.
And after more than two decades, I wish I was pushed into socializing more.
I’ve not produced any statistics like this in my post in support of my anti “read everywhere” stance. ‘Cause statistics can lie.
How? I’m learning it from a book called “How To Lie With Statistics”. Go figure.
Do you think parents should take the blame if a child doesn’t read for pleasure? Let me know in the comments.