Thursday, February 3, 2011

Taking the Time

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“I don’t have time to read.” You can hear that anywhere. Right now I am hearing it as I sit in my law class. Funny, because at the same time, I am reading on article on college students claiming they just don’t have time to pick up a book.

“Why read when I can go on my computer?” That’s the one that I get from my 15 year old sister.

It seems these days, whether it be for fun or for an assignment that reading for pleasure is a dying out.

Who actually reads anymore? If it’s not students and it’s not kids, and it’s basically no one in our generation except our mothers and our fathers, and maybe our grandparents, if they are still with us or even if they still can, and then not counting those few weird kids, then who is it?

Who is still reading?

Kindles are trendy, another computer or gadget or whatever. But even those have Wi-Fi.

What’s that other thing?

A nook?

What about a book? You know, real paper and a slightly enticing cover.

Reading is a dying art. Sure, we are still a literate nation. But we are also a nation on the verge of losing its passion for a form of expression that we call literature.

Some excuses.

No one has time to read anymore. I don’t have time. The stories end too quickly. The books are too long. Reading is boring. The list could go on and on.

So why read?

Maybe all we need is a reminder. Reading can be beautiful. Reading can be nostalgic. Reading can make you patient, it can make you think. Reading makes you smarter, reading makes you wiser, reading gives you a colossal vocabulary…if you let it.

It may take something from you to get the book started, but it always gives you back at least double what you put in. It’s amazing, actually and funny too. You read, and then suddenly you find yourself speaking more articulately, with bigger words, and better flow to your speech than you ever knew that you possessed. Even your writing gets better.

Reading can change you.

So why don’t people read anymore? The answer is I don’t know. But I do have my opinions.
I think that people have fallen out of love with the written word and have fallen into something else. Our minds are on speed…all the time. The LSD of this generation now comes in LCD form. That acronym is close enough for me.

How often do we find ourselves watching TV, on our laptops, music playing, all the while multitasking on Facebook chat and text messaging on our smartphones? We seem to always have time for that.
This cannot be a healthy habit and in the race between books and new technologies, it’s the new stuff that’s winning.

When the U.S. promoted competition, I don’t think that this is what they had in mind, or to this extent. But in any case, technology is killing anything that existed before 1988.

The whole world is wrapped up in health these days but we seem to be missing what is directly in front of us. We are addicted to technology. We are slaves to our laptops and our phones and anything else with a screen. We are so caught up in the instant gratification of our time that actually making time for something that doesn’t have a clock built in becomes difficult.

Now can you see how the beauty of the book can get lost in this mess of invisible signals floating through the air?

I am an old soul. I go home and knit. I watch Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune. I like to walk to the grocery store when I can.

But my favorite time, my absolute favorite time of day, is coming home, turning off my computer, and the TV and putting my phone on the table… can’t let that get too far, right?

And going over to my receiver, flipping the switch, hearing the slight buzz as it warms up. Pushing down the button on the turntable and then watching the arm go up and over, and finally resting on some carefully chosen black vinyl, crackling. And finally sitting down on my couch, and getting to read.

I’ve waited all day for this…I hope it’s a good one….a book that is. 

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