Changing how we read

Laying in bed the other night reading my book, I started thinking about how much has changed when it comes to reading, and how we absorb our information today.

Once upon a time we read newspapers and checked books out of the library. We relied on textbooks for helping us with our homework before writing down the answers in our exercise books. Leaving school over a decade ago now though I’ve no doubt this process has changed. Computers play a much bigger role in education, as does the power of Google and the World Wide Web. 

Even books – our ever-faithful dog-eared companions – are being replaced with an impersonal digital counterpart. For easy reading on the go, for holidays or reading in bed, a Kindle allows you to have an extensive library at your fingertips. Is it the same though? Does it give you the same pleasure that holding a book does? As a self-confessed bibliophile, I cannot imagine ever parting with a book. I can understand the convenience – especially if you like to read a lot on holiday – but the joy of bookshops and bookcases rank far too highly for me to consider switching altogether.

Even magazines and newspapers are making that all-important switch to digital for fear of losing readers or subscribers. Similarly to daily newspapers though, where is the longevity in this? An article you love that is written brilliantly or pulls on the heartstrings will be lost, save for an electronic bookmark, amongst the hundreds upon hundreds of other articles available online. I would miss folding down the page or cutting the article out and popping it in a safe place to rediscover and read many years later. 

It feels as though we are slowly losing the sentiment that comes with reading and writing then by allowing so much to be read and written online. We are not savouring it or appreciating it like we use to, because we don’t need to. It is fleeting and convenient.

Time and time again we are told to switch off before bed. To put down our phones or laptops and log out from social media. Something that, this year, I’m trying to be better at. To pick up a book rather than scrolling mindlessly through Instagram. 

I have to say, my bedside table has never looked better, or more appealing!