Nowadays, most people don’t read at all. Its a fact almost everybody (readers and non-readers alike) knows. What we want to know is why. I am writing this because as a writer (and an avid reader) I am genuinely concerned about the shocking decline of readers year by year worldwide. My major concern as a writer is getting people to read what I write. Without a shred of doubt, even a few years ago that would have been difficult. But today, it has become nothing but a daunting challenge.
Every year thousands of books are being published but sadly there are only a few (like me) to read them. When did reading go out of fashion? Nobody knows, really.
As I sit here writing this, I can’t help but wonder what went wrong. From what I have seen, most of today’s youngsters does not like reading. Either reading has somehow detached itself from their 21st century lifestyle or they have completely detached themselves from reading. Now, that actually puzzles me. I meant to say that today we live in the Information Age and things has never been easier. Everything is, quite literally, a click away.
I won’t hesitate to say that the numerous opportunities made possible by advancing technology provides just the more reasons for you to read. For instance, if you dislike shuffling through the morning newspaper, you have the luxurious choice of accessing all the latest news on your iPhone. But how many of you actually read news alerts (or anything for that matter) through your iPhones? I highly doubt the number would be anywhere near impressive. Okay, maybe young people doesn’t like reading news. Period. There are like hundred other varieties of reading materials available on the Internet. Why not read them? News is just a small portion from the millions of choices available on the Internet like blogs and e-books. There’s always something for everyone and you know that.
Granted, not everybody will be interested in reading novels like I do. Some doubt themselves whether they can finish a novel. Since you read at your own leisure, does the size really matter? Not at all. For instance, I usually read before I go to bed every night. A few pages or few chapters a night. Now that I commute to the University almost everyday, I read on the way. Its quite rewarding in a way only a reader would understand. No offense intended. Truth be told, I’d be miserable without a book in my hand during my long commute. A newspaper. A magazine. A novel. Anything really. But the reality is quite disappointing in Malaysia or anywhere else I have been. Hardly anyone reads.
As most books are being made into movies these days, people prefer watching rather than reading. Has technology got the better of us and made us into lethargic creatures? For a non-reader, the answer is simple. Why ‘waste time’ reading while you can enjoy watching them. As a reader, I beg to differ. Most books adapted into movies are a disappointment because most often than not they fail to depict the true essence of the book. Then again, I am saying this in a reader’s point of view.
Pre-conceived notions like ‘reading is for losers’, ‘reading is nerdy’ or ‘reading is not cool’ can’t be changed. All that we need is a change of attitude. A positive attitude towards reading. And whenever that happens (if at all that happens), the world will be a much better place. Oh yes, Absolutely!
I dedicate this piece to all my reader friends, (namely Shazana Rahim, Azie Izzati, Andrew Ong, Evelyn Rose Windsor, Cheryl Stephanie and Petrina Jo) for their continued faith and belief in reading. Keep reading, my dear friends and you’ll be truly rewarded.