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On the other hand, my husband does not read at all. He doesn't have the imagination for it.
-- 25 Nov 2012, 03:05 --
Sadly, I think that all the factors you mentioned play a part. I can still remember when there were only three television networks that signed off after 1 a.m. and there was no cable, Pay-Per-View, 24-hour talk radio, Netflix, DVDs, etc., but books have alot of competition these days: t.v., movies, the Internet. I think that so much competition has resulted in intellectual laziness - or - passivity. Reading a book involves a commitment of time and a sacrifice of something else. Today, audiobooks can be listened to while driving, doing laundry, etc. Reading also requires us to use our imagination and interpret things for ourselves. Television and movies do alot of imagining and interpreting for us. People also seem to be alot less reflective these days. Reading tends to force us to do some reflection on what we've read. Today it's all about instant gratification and people seem eager to say and share whatever pops into their mind as soon as it occurs. Maybe that's why people are so obsessed with posting on Facebook and Twitter, non-stop texting and posting videos on You Tube.
As I follow the comments, a 1987 book keeps coming to mind. It was given to me as a gift in 1988, so it wouldn't hurt me to reread.
Allan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind has sold a million copies in the USA, and nearly the same internationally. It was number one NYT for a couple of months and remained a best seller well over a year.
I started to insert about half of page 64, but thought about copyright. So, here is just a sample:
Kramer vs. Kramer may be up-to-date about divorces and sex roles, but anyone who does not have Anna Karenina or The Red and the Black as part of his viewing equipment cannot sense what might be lacking, or....Thus, the failure to read good books both enfeebles the vision and strengthens our most fatal tendency...
I think he is right. The work is not just about reading. However, the failure to read good books is symptomatic of much bigger and more serious issues..
Another theory I have is that reading as a passion and a pass time needs to be modeled to people so they continue reading. The only book I saw my dad read was the Bible because he was so busy working to support all of us. But my mother was always reading to us and in front of us as a result my brothers and sister and I are voracious readers (especially reading with our kids). Nowadays, it is hard to sit down and read with your kids or on your own when there is school, dinner, extra-curricular activities, baths, homework, housework etc. My family gave up tv in order to make more time and budget room for reading.
But today, with our faster paced lifestyle, it seems more people just don't have the time to sit down and read a book or magazine or a newspaper. They won't take the time for themselves, unfortunatley. Children are growing up with cell phones, video games, internet games and have no interest in sitting and reading. If they could sit long enough to read a book they might find they like it .