Flack: Reading is beneficial regardless of medium

Sean Flack

It seems as if there are two camps for portable e-book readers: the Amazon Kindle and the Barnes & Noble Nook. People are either for or vehemently against them. I’ll always be on the side of owning an actual book, but I feel that we should be embracing e-book readers more because as long as people are reading, who cares?

There’s an extremely sad trend among students these days. Ask what someone’s favorite book is and they’ll stammer and say they don’t read. Go on someone’s Facebook profile and they might have a variation of the phrase “I hate reading” under their favorite books section.

We read pages upon pages of worthless Facebook and Twitter updates a day, but we can’t muster up the time to sit down and read something of value? It’s sad. And sure, you might enjoy “Twilight” or “Harry Potter” or “The Da Vinci Code,” but those are probably more you satisfying a pop culture curiosity than actually enjoying to read.

I think the big thing that turns people off is that you have to use your brain to read. And I don’t mean that as a jab at anyone or anything, but with TV and movies you can just sit back and let the pictures on screen do the work for you. With a book, you’re in the world your brain is creating in your head. If you just stare blankly at words on a page, then you’re not getting anything out of it and it’s not worth your time. We do this often with school.

But despite what you’re groomed to believe, your schooling is not the end-all, be-all of education. There are so many books and subjects and stories out there not taught in classrooms; just waiting to be consumed by someone. You don’t have to be reading classic literature, but at least read something.

And that brings us back to e-book readers. While an e-book reader might lack the feel and smell of a regular book, the story is still there. And that’s what truly matters, right? In addition, with a Kindle, you have the chance to download many great books for free: “Treasure Island,” “Pride and Prejudice,” and “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” to name a few. If that’s not an amazing opportunity, I don’t know what is.

I won’t try to convince major book-haters to sit down and read a book; it’s honestly useless. That kind of thing just has to happen by chance, not by reading some guy’s column. But I will wave my white flag and say I’m onboard for e-book readers. If people buying more Kindles and Nooks means that more people are reading, then it can’t be bad.

And hey, maybe it could become a new trend. While I’m all against people getting into things just because it’s fashionable, I don’t think reading would be an annoyance. Teens going back and forth about James Joyce’s use of stream of consciousness outside the mall? It’d be great. Sure it would annoy some book snobs, but reading is a beyond fantastic experience. Everyone should read something no matter how it’s presented.

So come on, let’s make reading cool again.