Where Have All the Readers Gone? by Julie Mayerson Brown
Julie Mayerson Brown, author of The Long Dance Home, on the dangerous decline of the bookworm.
We hear endless reports about the drought in California, the potential extinction of the Northern White Rhino, and the disappearing rain forests. But does anyone care about a certain type of human being whose numbers are dwindling at such a rate they should be added to the endangered species list? This creature is disappearing faster than pay-phones and pop-tarts (pop-tart: toaster pastry that is delicious but not particularly healthful that we ate in the car on the way to school back in the 70’s). What kind of human is this, you may ask?
The BOOKWORM, otherwise known as a voracious reader, has been in decline for decades, and the situation is becoming critical.
It doesn’t take a Cultural Anthropologist to figure out the cause of this trend. The reason readers are dropping like swatted flies is that (duh!) there are a million other things to do. How many hours do people spend binge watching TV shows or playing Candy-crush? Kids won’t, or can’t, peel their eyes away from their smart phones. Teens insist on sharing every boring moment of their lives on Snap-chat and Instagram. And countless people are addicted to funny animal videos on YouTube or reality shows about billionaire families, crazy stage moms, and plastic surgeries gone wrong. Hey, I’m not criticizing – I’ve watched my share of “Shame your dog” videos, Russian car crashes, and adorable babies giggling.
In an effort to combat the problem known as READ (Readers Endangered and Disappearing – yes, I just made that up), I am encouraging everyone everywhere to read more.
Be forewarned, if you never or rarely read you might want to start slowly. It can shock the system if your brain receives too much intelligent information and pleasant stimuli all at once. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself lounging on the couch into the wee hours of the night, skipping drinks after work, packing a sack lunch and taking it to the park, or even falling asleep with an open book on your lap. Imagine that! Being so engrossed in a book that you can’t wait to get back to it. Enjoying it so much you’d rather read than party or watch TV or shoe shop online.
Finally, a few of the side benefits:
Reading is good for you! It builds memory muscles and keeps the brain young (doing puzzles helps, too.) And reading reduces stress hormones.
Reading makes you smarter! It helps us expand our vocabularies, gain knowledge, and increase our Emotional IQ’s.
Reading makes you richer! First and foremost, readers tend to be more successful. And the more time you spend reading the less time you’ll be watching commercials on TV or shopping online. Read more – spend less.
Remember: “A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t.” Mark Twain
Julie Mayerson Brown is an author and perennial bookworm. Her novel, The Long Dance Home, is available online and in bookstores. As a “Christmas In July” promo, the kindle version is on special for only .99!
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