How Declining Book Reading Habits Will Stop Rejuvenating the Human Intellect


The reading habits among our youth are fast fading. There is no denying the fact that today’s youth has lost touch with the books. It’s a matter of great concern for literature loving class of the society.

Students are under pressure for performance and the concept of intrinsic value addition is now a long lost idea. In an age, when browsing the Internet, playing with cell phones and exchanging Whatsapp posts seem to be the order of the day, reading a book in a peaceful corner of a library has become an archaic idea for most of the people.

But the culture of reading books is crucial for independent knowledge acquisition and lifelong learning. It builds in a person the essential attributes for self-advancement and national development. But today, majority of the free time is taken by Internet. Mobile phones, social sites, TV and entertainment programmes occupy the minds of the modern youth.

A negative effect that social networking sites are having on the younger generation is taking them away from the printed word. This is largely owing to the fact that Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites are far more appealing to them.

The diminishing number of visitors to different public libraries and dwindling business of leading booksellers and publishers in the State confirm the growing apathy of the intelligentsia towards books.

Modern youth has totally forgotten that book reading does not only nourish the soul but rejuvenates the human intellect in probing things deeper, analysing things, and providing guidance to people, to instances of life that they have not yet been exposed to.

The habit of reading enables the mind to think over objects of interest and help a person in making informed decisions. Unfortunately, the number of book readers is continuously decreasing which is an indication of scarcity of knowledge in future.

New media for sure but their overall materials usually require less effort to read through; partially because new media materials tend to be shorter. There is also a tendency to add more visuals, to make the materials more digestible. The downside is that new media materials tend to lose the width of a traditional printed effort in this sense.

Another reason for a decrease in reading habits per say is that books nowadays tend to be available in audio form; making it easier to consume the book’s contents while attending to other activities. This remains controversial, as it often impacts the quality of both activities you are trying to multitask your way through. Without a doubt, the “new Media” that individuals are employing is different from literary texts and the difference in genre can make a real difference. … those learners/consumers are employing a media that is different in style and in how the information is relayed…since individuals employ this new media, they are less oriented to the more literary structure of books.  With regard to the style, one is not better than the other, they are different.  I would argue, however, that the new media is less oriented to the deeper and reflective aspects of our human condition and so the content appears (to me, at least) to be more superficial in the new media. 

David Lodge in his essays about the evolution of the novel, for example, shows very effectively that this literary device developed quite unique ways to address and share consciousness across individuals that simply cannot be done in other types of media.

Another issue is how the decreasing book reading habits are measured. If this is done without careful consideration of how audio books and electronic books have impacted the sales of physical books and how they are shared across individuals, then the data might be less accurate.

Another issue is that how children are taught to read will impact whether they are good readers and whether — if they can read — whether they want to do so.  At least in the United States, there was a huge rush (really created by political and ideological motives during the Bush administration) to employ fragmented and behavioristic approaches to reading pedagogy that by produced a generation of poor readers or readers who do not like to read……. these are just three variables to this complex problem.

New Media, IT, after TV and Nintendo, have actively contributed to the death of reading. Unfortunately we have lost the sense of complexity and logical thought and more important the ability to identify contradictions and lies. “There is no Frigate like a book to take us lands away” wrote Emily Dickinson. Reading still plays and, for the future, will continue to play, a crucial role in our society. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that reading’s role has diminished and it will continue to shrink.

 I observe reading electronically has gone phenomenally higher whereas reading books in physical form has reduced. Reading has diminished but not vanished, To me feeling the book and the bond it creates is something that comes with age. Current younger generation do both. Early childhood reading habit can make a difference in the long run.





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