Has reading becoming obsolete?

If you are reading this article, then I admire you; you’ve obviously set aside time to read.

Unfortunately, many of us have not found that balance, myself included.

I can remember back as a child or a “tween” I could read an entire novel in one sitting. Now, nothing mind-altering and intricate, like Mark Danielewski’s “House of Leaves,” but still decent, well-written books nonetheless. I am sure many of you did the same. I bet many more children read for fun or as a hobby than adults by far.

I would spend hours in my local library or at Barnes & Noble deciding what to spend a coveted gift card on. I must confess most of the reading I do now—articles, books, journals, etc.—are read because it is assigned to me as an English minor. On a rare occasion, I will take a suggestion from a classmate or colleague, or read another piece by an author I enjoy, but the fact is most of my reading is done within the walls of the lovely Kirby Hall.

It’s probably the common excuse many adults use for many different reasons, in many different situations. But, I do not have the time. When one works or studies 9 to 5 every week day, when they get home they do not want to force their brain to pick literary devices or decipher figurative language in a novel that requires more attention than a toddler.

Mindless, effortless forms of entertainment, like reality television, podcasts or TikTok, are far more enjoyable as they require hardly any thinking. One can also do other things like homework while watching TV. Sometimes just the background noise is nice. This might sound a bit harsh, but when I read, I almost find it to be a waste of time.

Gasp. Clutch pearls, I know. I enjoy it, if the story is gripping, but I tend to think of all the other things I could be doing, rather than reading page after page. I suppose I consider it to be a very passive thing. Doing other things, like school work, laundry, cleaning or cooking, seem much more important and active.

Now, I know audiobooks are all the rage. I feel like such a senior that I have not gotten into them. A senior citizen, not a senior in college. I find when listening to an audiobook I miss important parts and do not pick up on hints or details that I normally would. I feel as if it almost defeats the purpose. Not to contradict myself or sound even more stubborn than I already do, but there’s a certain charm to reading written words.

Holding a book. Smelling the pages. Feeling the cover. Heck, I even like reading digitally such as on an iPad. Many people do prefer audiobooks, even more than a hardcover or paperback, which, hey, good for them. We each have our preferences. And quirks.

In an attempt to get back into reading, which I truly would like to do, I believe I have some tricks. I do not think it is the time to be trying to explore a new author or a new genre — that would be more appropriate when one is sick of reading and in need of a refresh.

When trying to get back into perhaps revisiting a favorite author, genre, series or even re-reading a nostalgic favorite, that does not need much brain power of pondering is just the thing to get back into reading, one could branch out from there. Of course this too is a personal preference and will probably not work for everybody.

Perhaps this all goes back to the idea that as adults, sometimes we just have to do things we enjoy purely for the pleasure they bring, and not apologize for doing so.