Read to me tales about castles and kings Read to me stories of fabulous things (From Read To Me by Jane Yolen)
Reading is no passive art. Sure, it involves but you, your God given faculties of reading and comprehension and letters in print, through which a tale is told or a matter is examined. You may read as an archetype would, with a cup of tea in hand, a book in the other – rather impractical really – or as a real person with passion and interest, involved and entranced.
As is probably obvious, I favour the second approach, for it is both real and human, and both qualities are not as interchangeable as one would think, as one often thinks.
Be that as it may, it is no secret that some of the members of our student body frown upon this age-old pastime and means of education. They consider it to be unbecoming, favouring instead broken up, shorthand jargon and frowning in discontent whenever they are assigned to read. And the sad truth of the matter is, none of those who belong to the aforementioned category of individuals is certifiably lacking in intellect or dexterity. Instead, they choose to discard their smarts, and regrettably such a decision is probably taken without much hesitation if any. The atrocity, however, is not exclusive to many of our students. In a 2004 study conducted by The Prince of Wales Arts & Kids Foundation that surveyed a 100 British children from the ages of 7 to 10, reading was ranked as pastime number four. Some kids cited their preference to listen to their friends’ stories instead as the cause, an eerie parallel to the food court during the aptly named Assembly Hour.
Writing fared far worse in the study, ranking as the least favorite leisurely activity. Vis-a-vis adolescents and young adults, personally I attribute this to the rather unhealthy preoccupation with social media outlets*, which leaves no time for sharpening the mind, let alone making sufficient use of it. It is also worth noting that the nonchalant, occasionally even deprecating, attitude towards reading adopted by many of our own is perchance best displayed on the library’s Plaza floor by those engaged in non-studying related activities, also known as gratuitous, misplaced, ill channeled socializing.
The above is not as it may seem a display of presumptuousness on my part; it is rather an expression of disdain at the slow, but gradual decrease in the interest in an act that I for one consider to have shaped my identity to a considerable extent. If I have insulted, then be rest assured I meant no individuals by my tirade, simply actions which I find to be reprehensible. A word of advice in conclusion: as opposed to feeding your brain Cosmopolitan’s hollow beauty advice or some X-Box game of murder and mayhem, take a break, give me a break and reach for a Paris Review essay instead.
*Disclaimer: The author refers to the abuse, as opposed to the proper use of such media.
Shams Essam is an ECLT and Journalism Sophomore