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The Downfall of a World
Joshua flips to the next page on the hit bestseller novel. He yawns, debates whether to tweet or update his Facebook status. The thrill of reading and loosing himself in another dimension has lost its spark. That was what people back in the day of 2011 did.
Joshua represents the future for books in American society.
An alarming decrease in reading has been appearing over the years. The significant drop in reading includes all ages with no exceptions.
A National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) study “Reading at Risk” based on a Census Bureau survey of more than 17000 adults reveals the large decrease in ages 18 to 24 with 53 percent reading in 1992 to 43 in 2002. Meanwhile in 1992, 72.6 million adults did not read increasing to 89.9 million in 2002.
Even more, the nonprofit Book Industry Study Group reported that the number of books purchased in the U.S. in 2003 decreased by 23 million from the year before to 2.22 billion.
"Whenever I hear about something like this, I think of it as a call to arms," said Mitchell Kaplan, president of the American Booksellers Association. "As booksellers, we need to look into what kinds of partnerships we can get into to encourage literacy and the immediacy of the literary experience."
The silent murdered of reading is proud to say its name: electronic media.
Electronic media has revealed its name in other crimes such as obesity, shorter attention span and falling academic scores. However, American society has been proudly supporting it, standing by its side through this journey of cultural shift. This time it has attacked the reading society. With its luring options, it entices the majority of Americans to join its revolution.
Before electronics took on its major role, numerous Americans enjoyed the practice of reading when they lost themselves in a world of fantasies, romance, mystery and thrillers. Shakespeare was able to captivate the crowd with his epic plays but if another great master of literature presented him/herself, the American society would not be able to recognize them. A thick veil of technological media blinds Americans.
Americans still do not recognize the negative factors in electronic media. First of all, people’s capability of imagining decreases since an electronic carries out all the tasks. They loose the sense of being able to escape to another dimension when all they have around performs their imagining. It’s almost as if they’re unconsciously loosing part of themselves or in other words, giving up the special privilege.
Plus, the decreasing reading population will later reflect its effect on academics. Though elementary school students are pushed to read more at schools, middle and high school students are falling back. Younger children show higher scores on tests than older ones since they are less likely to surrender to electronic media such as Facebook at such ages. That leaves one conceiving of how these young adults will head into their careers and life when they have already been subjected under a technological control.
In the United States, a point has come when the magic of reading is no longer appealing. The captivated reader does not eagerly turn the page anymore, only reading reviews to complete the essay or have an idea of what to post on their blog. 200 pages is too much in this society; 300 unbearable.
We’re at a point where print media is not at its high point and books struggle to survive in the isolated libraries and bookstores. They don’t receive as much attention but they are still holding on as much as possible. Therefore, we can still take action to prevent their disappearance.
I still find it impossible when I came across so many alarming statistics of the decline of reading. It’s impossible to grasp the concept of people not being able to enjoy a book as much. When did people suddenly find books uninteresting? Do they not see the world waiting out for them as soon as they open the book?
Back then, American society enjoyed the aspect of reading, some spending countless hours on a book. After all, back then the practice had no factors against it so it made it much easier. It was viewed as a past time for many. Yet, now with various options to choose from, something over reading sounds more “cool” and less “geeky.” Social pressures in schools have pushed some teenagers to ditch books in an attempt to fit in since reading appears to hold a less desirable position for one.
No matter what the excuse is for the decline of reading, it is crucial to go back to “old ways” or whatever you want to call it. It does not matter. What matters is that reading is a major part in our lives and cannot be overseen. We’re loosing a sense of our imagination and new things to learn.
Reading cannot disappear. We all have to grab a book or visit the abandoned libraries at our school. We can’t lead ourselves into a society rejecting the aspect of reading.
How can we leave Juliet and Romeo behind? How can we stop our imaginations from running? How can we stop the flow of authors?
Shakespeare certainly wouldn’t approve.