Reading Into Reading

I was such a bookworm as a kid. And as a teen. And the in-between part, too. I could elaborate on that but it would be redundant. At some point around the end of high school or the beginning of university, reading became a bit of a plodding, onerous task that no longer brought pleasure and took enormous amounts of effort to achieve the right level of focus.

It could have been hormonal, it could have been the books I found myself reading (not exactly my first choice) or it could have been a brain-development chemical interaction thing. Emotional fluctuation, mental distress and lack of motivation all played a part. Regardless, I had little or no desire to read, trouble making myself read what I had to read, and didn’t really enjoy reading what I read. I recognized this change pretty quickly but couldn’t reverse it. It was sad.

I sort of got used to it being that way, but continued to read casually; mostly non-fiction or works that I could apply to some other aspect of life. I mean, so much of what we do online is technically reading, right? Social media, Wikipedia, comments, research…just about everything that isn’t audio-visual requires some word interpretation. So I was still reading plenty–technically.

Maybe the upsurge of popularity in these technologies during that time had an effect on my enjoyment of the written word. Maybe it’s affected the way many of us think and feel about reading. Books are faced with the prospect of becoming digitized as audiobooks or ebooks and this is not a bad thing, but it’s a different thing than turning pages, feeling and smelling them, placing bookmarks and making sure pages don’t stick together. 

So I don’t know: is reading so different in the era of social media that many of us can’t recognize it for what it is anymore? Does it detract from the value of the ‘old’ modes of reading? Does it matter? 

I am able to enjoy books again now, though not all of them and not as fully as I did as a child. I read a graphic novel today (Matthew Sturges’ House of Mystery volume 5: Under New Management), the whole thing in one sitting. I ordinarily take my time reading these books and I’ve never finished so quickly before. I found it to be a pleasant experience akin to the exploits of my past reading self. I enjoyed myself.

This is writing for the purpose of reading. Huh. Hmm…

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3 Responses to “Reading Into Reading”

  1. A few year’s ago I discovered the walking dead and demolished about seven graphic novel’s in a few weeks… it was awesome, I hadn’t read a comic for years. Now I am really into comics again, all sorts, online and in paper form. Its all good. : )

    • That’s fantastic! Walking Dead is certainly popular and successful as a graphic novel. It’s the perfect kind of narrative to be told in that medium! Action and image… I’ve only seen the T.V. show at this point, but I would like to read the books someday.
      I was introduced to the Sandman series by Neil Gaiman a few years ago and that certainly rekindled an interest in the art of the story. Of course, those books delve into myth from across the world and there is all kinds of overlap into other fiction-worlds and… oh, I could go on.

      • OMG I love Neil Gaiman, I discovered him via his graphic novel ‘The Books of Magic’ a very long time ago… And last Christmas I welled up with pride when I discovered one of his books on my 10yr old daughters Christmas List, because I thought I was the only person in the house who knew of him! : )

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