This article is from an Australian but as relevance to all...
The Write Stuff: Book decline is sad story
Monday, February 20, 2012
IF YOU don't read for pleasure, there's a chance you are not a good reader at all. Chris Harrison says the decline of the book is a tale with an unhappy ending as a large section of our population struggle to put words together.
"I AM A BOOKWORM ON THE BRINK OF EXTINCTION. EACH TIME A BOOKSHOP CLOSES ANOTHER HECTARE OF MY NATURAL HABITAT DISAPPEARS"
"Nearly half the population struggles without the literacy skills to meet the most basic demands of everyday life and work. There are 46 per cent of Australians who can't read newspapers, follow a recipe, make sense of timetables, or understand the instructions on a medicine bottle." :-(
So begins the "why we exist" page of the National Year of Reading 2012 website, minus the emoticon, of course, but this staggering statistic suggests the literacy issue in Australia is so urgent that emoticons could one day become functional rather than fashionable.
Reading is more than a pastime, it's a subliminal education. Artistic expression doesn't always need a conscience and some of the best books I've read were escapism. But they and more serious books have the power to entertain while also enriching vocabulary, reinforcing spelling and prompting profound analysis not only of the story's characters but, in comparison, that of the reader. It's a beautiful, reflective process, a two-way street, which, sadly, risks becoming a dead end.
The slow-death of the printed book is the saddest cultural event of my lifetime. I am a bookworm on the brink of extinction. Each time a bookshop closes another hectare of my natural habitat disappears. When I eventually buy a Kindle I will appreciate buying books at the touch of a button and won't miss the freight costs each time we move. But I will miss the physical company of books, the journey through the pages and the crease on the spine.
Some say the eBook is a direct replacement of the printed book. Others disagree because of the depth of the reading process when you're reading on a screen. Apparently you can now even read a book on an iPhone. But with so many other bells and whistles vying for your attention, can that really be classed as reading?
Studies suggest that reading online results in superficial assimilation. And Philip Roth claims that to read a book properly you need to devour it in one sitting. But youngsters are so distracted these days that many can't do one thing at once. I am seeing more and more teenagers walk into lampposts as they try to balance the reality of a street with the urgency of a tweet.
The Write Stuff: Book decline is sad story- Local Cairns News | cairns.com.au