I’ve always loved books. I used to be that little kid in reception (kindergarten for some), who used to sit in the corner, silent, nose buried in a book. That’s who Emily was. “Where’s Emily?” “She’s over there reading.” A ponytail with about 10 colourful hairbands in it (no joke, I have a picture. That’s what mum used to do to my hair) and going through books like they were chocolate.
I managed to get myself through the whole of my primary school library by the end of year 2. Teachers didn’t know what to do with me. So I was able to explore the wide world of literature and let me tell you, I enjoyed myself.
I loved having a book in my hands, turning every page to reveal the imagination of someone else, the story they created. Now I’m 20, in my final year of university and I hardly have any time to read. Journalism does that to you. But I have the privilege of passing my love of books down to my 12-year-old brother.
Olly did not take to books instantly. Growing up with technology mean that this is unfortunately unsurprising. Since he started school, the use of technology in the classroom on a daily basis has increased. They now expect the 12 year olds to bring in their own laptops to class to take notes. Yes, no notebooks for them anymore, it’s just a sea of Macbooks.
Obviously they are still encouraged to read because it’s vital to their learning but so many kids are now wanting to read on a Kindle or iPad. Why? Why would you want to give up the excitement of a fresh new book?
It’s something that baffles me always. I just don’t get it. Reading is such a great luxury. The racks and shelves of books that are out there in libraries or stores, waiting to be picked up and read, ready to develop your imagination.
Why has it become such an important issue for me?
My little brother was pining for a Kindle after seeing all the adverts on the telly and I had to draw the line. Not my mum, me. I sat him down and told him that there is so much joy in having a book in your hand. Yes a Kindle can be cool and it may get you to read, but it doesn’t compare to the connection you make to a story when it’s physically there in your hand.
I’ve somehow managed to grill it into him that having a book is better than technology that you can read it on. The other day, my mum told me that he asked to go to the bookshop and wanted multiple books. I’ve never been happier to be honest. Now, he’s willing to sit down and read because he’s realised the importance of having a book. He’s told me (though he never wants to admit that I’m right), he prefers reading from a book. He’s realised at a young age, way beyond his years, that it gives him time away from his computer or Playstation and it calms him down. Personally, I just wanted him to always read from books. Now it’s developed into something more than that and I couldn’t be happier.
There’s so much more that a book can share.
I feel that having a physical book is so much more meaningful than reading a digitalised version. The apps that I know are lying a click away on an iPad, would easily distract me if I was reading on it. I know Kindles don’t have that option so it reduces the amount of temptation, but books provide a sort of escape. They have an ability to take you out of your daily life; zone you out from the rest of the world. Transport you into a story.
Technology takes up so much of our daily lives, whether it be work or leisure. I know that I’m addicted to technology. There’s a fight within me to stop everything I’m doing, pick up a book and just unwind. For some, we can’t do it but if you can, take the time. Go to your local bookstore and go and find something new. Whether it be fiction or non-fiction, or something to aid you in your work or social life. Broaden your mind about the world around without searching it on Google (I love you though Google, don’t worry). There’s so much information out there we can find in books, we can reveal things about ourselves that we didn’t even know before.
Making that connection with a piece of literature is so important because it’s something you’ll have with you for a lifetime. Whenever you need to be reminded of the feeling that that novel or book gave you, all you have to do is pick up the book from your shelf, open it up and there it is. Fresh again, like a story you’ve never read before but know so well.