The other day (What? 2013 can be the other day …) I was talking to my twelve-year-old niece. She said she hated reading.
Obviously, as a writer and an avid reader I was not overly happy to hear this.
She said reading was boring and why would I want to read when I could run on the beach or play catch or do anything else.
Now running on the beach or playing catch are definitely worthy activities, no argument there, but it upset me that she didn’t seem to think reading was too.
Just today When I saw my niece a few days later, I noticed two of her novels lying around. Novels she finished in less than a week.
When I asked her about it, she still asserted that she hates reading.
“Did you like these books?” I asked.
Sheepishly, she replied, “Yes.”
And so I asked her again, “You hate reading?”
We stared each other down.
“Why?” I questioned.
With a smile and a chuckle she answered, “Cause it takes too long,” then left the room.
Now, before I entered this line of questioning I wondered if her “hatred” for reading was based on some outside influence – friends who said reading was for nerds or made fun of her for reading. And so, even though she secretly liked reading, she insisted the opposite.
After the above line of questioning, however,
I’m I was even more disturbed. I know that my attention span has slackened over the years thanks to all the stimulants around us – tv, internet, texting, messenger – a plethora of stimulation that leave us “multi-tasking” away our days, and which isn’t multi-tasking at all, but never really focusing on one thing.
Reading a book is one of the few things we have left that we can’t mix-in with our multi-tasking.
Yes, I suppose you can read a book while doing other things, but it’s really difficult.
When reading, you feel a pull to ignore whatever else is around you and focus on the page. And when we let ourselves focus? That’s when we’re able to really let the book take over our minds. Be it travelling to some other world or letting someone else’s thoughts mingle with our own, broadening our horizon and frame of reference, letting ourselves actually take the time to focus on a good book is worth it.
It allows us to step out of our hectic lives and sink into a simpler way of being.
Even though my niece says she hates it and says reading takes too long, I’m glad to know she reads nonetheless. I look forward to the day when she says she loves it!
As a side note, we went to the beach
this that morning and ran and played volleyball. Now After my niece is contentedly sitting sat in the sun room…reading.