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Thread: Are we living in a society that is reading less?

  1. #1
    Moderator Suet Seung's Avatar
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    Default Are we living in a society that is reading less?

    Are we living in a society that is reading less?

    Your parents may have wanted you to spend less time watching TV and that is because children who watch too much TV are less likely to concentrate on their homework and etc. I think this applies to adults too because either for work or personal leisure, they spend a lot of time in front of the TV or the computer monitor, surfing the net or doing work. Even at this forum, the majority don't seem to talk much about literature, although some do.

    Does going home from work/school mean turning off your mind and letting yourself relax a little or too much (thinkingwise)? Some people always say they watch a movie or watch TV to turn off their mind. So does that concept apply to this forum as well, they don't want to discuss or talk about serious and stuff that requires more thinking and analyzing?

    It just seems like we're living in a society that does not promote reading as a leisurely thing, it's always "I'm reading because I have to for this class" or "I have to read this for work", so is it rare for some people to say they I want to read and choose to read?
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    Senior Member Guo Xiang's Avatar
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    I agree that the current society reads less. There are simply too many distractions (technology gadgets, video games etc.), and reading a book might come across as an activity that is too dry and boring.
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    Moderator Suet Seung's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guo Xiang View Post
    I agree that the current society reads less. There are simply too many distractions (technology gadgets, video games etc.), and reading a book might come across as an activity that is too dry and boring.
    Exactly. I think nowadays our society has more focus on the fast and easy results, so taking time to actually slow down and read a book solely for leisure is becoming a rarity. And the business-minded folks, would fear the loss of time since time is money to them. Reading for leisure and acquiring knowledge (without being force to) is becoming a rare sight, the only place I see people reading is bookstores, libraries, airports and some places that is not surrounded with TVs and etc. How many people are reading by their own choice? I think the number is decreasing.
    Last edited by Suet Seung; 10-02-07 at 10:26 AM.
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    Senior Member Linda's Avatar
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    good point. although i do own alot of books but my time spent on reading has decreased dramastically over the past years.

    i've only purchased and read 10 books this year. thats very low compared to the other years.

    but then, ebooks are also available, they are also free.

    not only tat, alot of the more famous novels have audio books that u can listen to on ur mp3 or while driving.

    a single novel may cost easily $20 while an audio book can be downloaded for free.

    i think its also the cost tats invovled. its like buying a dvd compared to downloading it.

    not many of us are willing to spend the money or the time to go buy or borrow a book.

    but then again, the dot com generation is called that for a reason, they do everything on the net now tat reading materials are now moving to being webased. even sum students now no longer required to buy the novels for english, they can just print out an online version. which is copyrighted but sum universtiy books that i use are now online, and its legal to access it.

    sum day, the reasons "I'm reading because I have to for this class" or "I have to read this for work" will no longer be in used.

    i wouldn't mind have a section for books on spcnet, but considering most users don't seem to be wide readers while most readers seems to only read martial arts stories, u may not get alot of participation.
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  5. #5
    Moderator Han Solo's Avatar
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    I find that in the last 3 years, i had been reading less books.

    However, i had been reading more online magazine and newspapers.

    In some ways, i feel that it is a pity --> but on the other hand, i'm gaining wide background knowledge.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bliss
    I think they're probably at the same level as or one level below Ah Qing, which is about the level of a 2nd or 3rd generation Quan Zhen disciple.
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    Moderator pemberly's Avatar
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    i don't think that people are necessarily reading less, but maybe reading different books. look at hit books like da vinci code and the devil wears prada. they sell millions of copies, and it's hard to find someone who hasn't read the da vinci code before. and giant book stores like barnes and nobles and borders, as well as online retailers like amazon are doing quite well. i think, much like music nowadays, people are reading more fad books. books of the moment that are very popular, as opposed to discovering lesser known authors and obscure titles.
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    Senior Member Guo Xiang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pemberly View Post
    look at hit books like da vinci code and the devil wears prada. they sell millions of copies, and it's hard to find someone who hasn't read the da vinci code before. .
    I bought the book but never read it, because it bores me to death from the first line onwards of the starting chapter.
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    Senior Member PJ's Avatar
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    I may read less books than people from 50 years ago, but rest assured, nearly ten thousand posts on here does not come about without some massive conduction of reading. Probably equivalent of 50 books at least.
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    Senior Member mind_wander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Suet Seung View Post
    And the business-minded folks, would fear the loss of time since time is money to them. Reading for leisure and acquiring knowledge (without being force to) is becoming a rare sight, the only place I see people reading is bookstores, libraries, airports and some places that is not surrounded with TVs and etc. How many people are reading by their own choice? I think the number is decreasing.
    For me, being a business major I have to read for the taken courses. As for reading, MX always will make your read regardless how long or short; so I don't think I read less, but more. The converstations are very intellectual, for each person it differs from person to person. If you want a reading partner, I'd refer MX.

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    Senior Member mawguy's Avatar
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    (responding without having read through the thread; apologies for redundant comments.)

    indeed. part of the problem is the number of distractions around -- computers, forums (*ahem*), tv/movies, etc. -- and the fact that we live in a high stress environment; most of us just want to "turn off our brains" at the end of a long work day. books, well-written books that is, are thought stimulating, and most of us just don't have the mental capacity to read.

    another problem is "pico-impatience" -- we are conditioned to be less and less patient waiting for results, and we're therefore unwilling to spend the time going through 200-odd pages to get to the end of a book. besides, tv/movie adaptations, online summaries, etc. provide quick, easy, no-thought-required answers to what-was-that-book-about.

    the only books that still seem to be read are the so-called bestsellers, like da vinci code. the problem with reading only these "sensationalist" books is that there's little thought involved. the books are plot-driven and people are fed "ideas" that they've become conditioned to just accept without realizing that there's a lot of "empty calories" that they're ingesting. i haven't read da vinci's code, but the few sample exerpts i've seen online convince me that it's a bunch of dribble -- for one, the "high faluting" language is annoying and the descriptions unnecessarily long and with too many adjectives. if the author would read, for example, jane austen, he'd know that sophisticated writing need not drag-on for paragraphs and pages.

    the real danger, of course, is the fact that our constant avoidance of thought-provoking material, like books, and our passive acceptance of what is provided via audiovisual media (tv/movies) means we are becoming more conformist and uniform as a society. we are more gullible to brainwashing. recent history gives an extreme example of how this is bad: hitler's genocide program during WWII.

    i've observed that the reading of fewer books has a direct correlation to a person's means of communication, be it in the form of loss of vocabulary, poorer grammar/sentence structure in both verbal and written forms, or simply in daily phone calls and contents of everyday conversation with others. in short, people are sounding more and more stupid.

  11. #11
    Member Daishikaze's Avatar
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    Does our Society read less? Is the Pope Catholic?

    But I don't think its just the distractions that are causing it, I think its the kind of things people are doing/watching on Computers or TV. You can do alot of learning on the Computer, but people choose to spend their time reading and posting crap in places like Gaia or 4chan. They aren't seeking knowledge or the thrust and parry of meaningful conversation, they just screw around most of the time.

    TV isn't always a bad thing either, there is alot of culture on TV, its just that most people choose not to watch it in favor of their favorite lame-o Sitcoms and "What the hell is going on?" drama show. Movies have gotten exponentially worse over the years to the point where they just keep pumping out the same sewage every year and people clamor for it every time. Occasionally there is something smarter out there, but we tend to never hear about it because no one seems to care.

    Sure, life is very stressful and its easier to just "turn our brains off" when we get in from work or school. But I think if you are going to do that, you might as well go to bed instead it amounts to the same thing if you ask me. I find it impossible to turn my brain off while watching my favorite TV shows or movies, so I'm always thinking either about what is happening on screen or something I just imagined while watching. This is why so much of TV and movies today upsets me, because All I can see is terrible writing and/or acting most of the time.

    My wife and I read alot, she reads whenever possible, I tend to read in bursts (meaning that I read alot of books in a relatively short time then take a break until the next burst comes along (usually when I get a new batch of books)). So We read enough to keep our minds stimulated, if only I could find people that have read what I've read so I can discuss it with them.

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    Senior Member Linda's Avatar
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    so wat have u read Daishikaze?

    judging by the vocabulary used in this post, most of us are of an older age compared to the teenagers hanging around at the Actress thread, so wat type of books do the 'older' citizens of spcnet read?
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    Senior Member 0-0-0's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pemberly View Post
    books of the moment that are very popular, as opposed to discovering lesser known authors and obscure titles.
    i think that's true. In the past, i have gone to bookstores or libraries and browsed around different sections and picked up books which looked interesting, whereas lately, i only seem to read books that have been getting a lot of publicity, been in the top 20 bestsellers, or recommended by a friend. (or required reading but i don't think that should count)

    the reason i read less is that i seem to have less time nowdays, rather than that i watch more TV or more films. Plus, when i read, i have problems stopping in the middle of novels- i'm someone who will stay up to 3-4am in the morning if i'm in the middle of a good novel.

    There are actually a lot of books that i want to read, but i just haven't gotten around to reading them. Also, if anyone else has noticed, local libraries (at least those in my area) seem to be purchasing more and more DVDs and CDs instead of novels.

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    Registered User yearning's Avatar
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    No time to read. A lot of people I've talked to in my program say that they're reading a lot less in university than high school. That may be the reverse case with arts students though.

    I'm pretty crazy with reading though, the timing that is. I read nothing for leisure the entire school year, and then comes summer, and I spend 1-2 weeks and gulf up about 25-30 books in that short time span. I feed myself the knowledge and interest, and I get full for a while and leave it until the next summer.

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    Senior Member oGaKirA's Avatar
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    I agree with some of the previous posts.

    As a society, we are reading less because of distractions such as video game consoles etc.

    But as for me individually, with the advent of the computer and digital media, I am reading more. Yea Im one of them pple that don't like to read books often. So if I wasn't reading online then I wouldn't be reading at all. So wouldn't the bottum line be...."read something atleast?" Just so you don't become illiterate?

    Rather then paying for a newspaper...I get my news online. Info on specific subjects, tutorials, etc. I get online. Although I must admit they may not be as thorough as books. So..there will always be a place for books.
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    Moderator Han Solo's Avatar
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    The other thing that is hindering me reading books was that the speed of my reading has decreased a lot in recent years.

    I used to be able to do at least 100 pages an hour and last 18 hours reading a book without much of a break, nowadays, i can probably only do 40-60 pages an hour, and i can no longer read into the wee hours.

    So, i'm really curious as to how yearning read 18 books in 2 weeks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bliss
    I think they're probably at the same level as or one level below Ah Qing, which is about the level of a 2nd or 3rd generation Quan Zhen disciple.
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    Senior Member Linda's Avatar
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    children's books? picture books?

    its acutally not tat hard, depending on the size of the novel itself.

    i can read around 20 agatha chrities books in 2 weeks. if i dont' spend time on other things like this board.

    as a society we do seem to be reading less, but then reading is a very solitary leisure, while say watching tv or chatting on the net does allow ppl to interact more.

    so is this a good or a bad thing?
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    Registered User yearning's Avatar
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    Oh yeah, if it's like guilty pleasure crap like Shopaholics, I can engulf it in 45 minutes and then immediately pick up something else that won't kill my brain cells over its flufiness and read. I think I've done 25 in 2 weeks before...maybe that's why I'm so damn blind.

    And do you guys read every single word? I skip on parts that are wayyyy too descriptive (as in taking a whole page to discuss the legs of a table kind of descriptive) or side stories that really bore me.

    I have a related question...and too lazy to open up a thread. Do you people feel 'smarter' reading classics? I guess I'm too materialistic (that's not the right word but I think you get my idea), because I like to read classics just to make myself feel more adequate/smarter. I feel like I'm actually reading quality work and even if I don't enjoy it that much *cough* 100 Years of Solitude*cough*, I'll still finish it just to say that I've read it. Whereas I'm reluctant to admit if i've liked a popular book, i.e. guilty pleasure book.

  19. #19
    Senior Member mawguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yearning View Post
    And do you guys read every single word?
    depends on the book. i definitely skip the descriptive bits, especially of scenery.

    Do you people feel 'smarter' reading classics?
    i don't know that i necessarily feel "smarter" reading classics, although i do find that i tend to express myself better after reading said books. i think it has to do with the sophistication of the writing style and vocabulary; people wrote "better" in those times -- at least, they were more formal in their use of the language anyway.

    i always found it useful to read a classics book if i ever found myself with writer's block when essay deadlines loomed. :P

    Whereas I'm reluctant to admit if i've liked a popular book, i.e. guilty pleasure book.
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    On the contrary, I think that people are reading and absorbing more information than previous generations. Text has moved beyond its archaic paper-form and is now manifesting in different format (audiobooks, cd-roms, blogs, cereal boxes, ect.) So what if certain "classics" aren't being read any more? Why blame the lack of readers when the books have failed to keep their relevance to a changing society.
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