Tweets tend to take up 140 characters or less. A status on Facebook can vary in length, but for the most part are relatively short, sweet, and to the point. A newspaper article that’s not a high profile piece or a lengthy human interest story are otherwise 300-500 words long and written at a 5th or 6th grade reading level.
We’ve become so good at making reading-related content easy to soak up in this day and age.
But then there’s the case of books, whether electronically produced or traditionally hardcover-bounded, where it’s the riskiest of all of losing audience, not because of its content, but because of its quantity. For a book to be considered a novel, it has to be 40,000 words or more… and whether that be a Harry Potter book one is dealing with (no, it doesn’t matter which one) or Haruki Murakami’s 1,157-paged novel 1Q84, for many people nowadays, it’s considered to be a challenge that people are more or less willing to tackle.
Reading books for fun is not a popular activity in this day and age. No amount of statistical data is necessary to be provided to prove this point. You look around you when you’re out and about and you’re more likely to find one scrolling through their newsfeed on Facebook from their phone than carrying around Murakami’s latest novel under their arms (or electronically if read via Kindle or a similar platform). And to me, I cannot help but find observations such as these… disappointing.
Our society has developed such a short attention spans; so much as to where we desire to be spoon fed easily digestible texts for a quick but easy route to a short spans of satisfactory, without much work or concentration to it. It’s different for novels where there are no easily distracting enhancements to it; no quick way to understanding what is read. It requires a deeper level of concentration to understand, a quieter environment than we’re otherwise accustomed to, and even a longer time span to devote oneself to. But I find it worth it, especially when it comes to reading fiction; not only for the context of the story, but for the escapism it can summon.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been having a difficult time, above all else, to get people I know to read the book I spent a year and a half of putting blood, sweat, and tears into (figuratively speaking, of course) and no matter how many times I bring it up, it’s an ongoing struggle to conviction when most of the people I know don’t ready for fun.
Even my dad has had similar disheartening results when he goes out of his way to share the news with his friends and fellow colleagues that his eldest has published a book, and many are more willing to say they’ll check it out rather than actually go by their own word. And the few blunt souls who say their not into reading, my dad then asks what they do then in their spare time. “I watch TV,” some have said.
I guess back in the 90’s, reading became cool for a brief stint of time when the Harry Potter books became a popular thing. But as it’s become more so of a custom nowadays rather than a case-by-case happening, they were all made into films and now people assume that they’ll know all there is to know about the franchise from just watching the films that had to cut out a lot of content, in order for it to not turn into a nine-hour film. That’s how my family is able to tell who the true Harry Potter fans are when they know who we named our dog Tonks after.
The same can go for The Game of Thrones fans as they anxiously wait for the Season 5 premiere to erupt onto their TV screens next year. Look, I may not be a fan of that particular series but last time I checked, isn’t it based off a book series?? If you’re so interested as to what is going happen next, why not read the books it’s been adapted from?
In a time where adapting books for small and large screens is all the rage (with an original screenplay becoming more of a rare find than a regular happening), I do have to give the benefit of the doubt that at least the creators behind these adaptations are aware enough to know the the works they’re looking at are books that are read and admired (even it may not always be the best of content). So you can only imagine how much time, research, reading and quietness the original authors gave themselves up to, to make these adaption-worthy texts become something. So therefore, isn’t it worth it then to check out the original text before getting lost in someone else’s interpretation of it? Because that’s what all adaptations are in the end; interpretations of the original text.
As an author and an adamant reader, I want more emphasis to be placed on this; to read for the sake of reading and conducting it thoughtfully and deeply, and not just relying on an adaptation of it. I want this to be enhanced more; in schools, in the media, etc. I want there to be campaigns held and advertisements done, enhancing on how much more benefiting the power of story is when it’s just you, your mind, and the author on the playing field.
Books have been around for centuries. Whose to say that they are to become any less irrelevant now?
A Moment’s Worth is now available through the following venues: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, iTunes. Please leave a review if you can, for my goal is to get a total of at least 20 reviews on all venues (so far, I’ve gotten 3 reviews so there’s still a ways to go).
Check out its Goodreads page, which includes two trivia quizzes for all who’ve completed reading it already.