WHAT is one of the most distinct habits that make human beings different from other living species? It’s the habit of reading — whether for pleasure or for purpose.
Tons and tons of pages have been written about the importance of reading. It gives knowledge, and knowledge makes one perfect.
Unfortunately, the expanse and scope of reading have been limited to achieving set goals. Reading as a habit has been affected by the necessary engagements of a routine life and unnecessary pastimes.
It is shocking to note that the New World Order that demolishes archetypes and sets trends in the contemporary world finds the habit of reading boring. A survey conducted by the US National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) estimated a loss of millions of potential readers in the US since 1982. The survey, called “Reading at Risk,” warns: “At the current rate of loss, literary reading as a leisure activity will virtually disappear in half a century.”
“Reading is in decline among all groups, in every region, at every educational level and within every ethnic group,” says Dana Gioia, the chairman of the endowment.
According to the report, the percentage of Americans who had read a novel, short story or poetry over the previous 12 months was 46.7 percent. What is even more alarming is the indifference toward books among the younger generation. Only 42.8 percent of the people aged between 18 and 24 read in their free time. The rate of decline in the reading habit in this age group was 55 percent greater than that of the total adult population.
Many people think that new technologies — especially the Internet — have affected the reading habit. On the contrary, it seems that technology has made reading easier. The Internet has brought libraries into living rooms. Information is just a click away, and e-books can be downloaded and read on Kindle.
John F. Kennedy once said: “If more politicians knew poetry, and more poets knew politics, I am convinced the world would be a little better place in which to live.”