As a child reading was a challenge. It was easier to play and have a conversation regarding Pacman, the most popular game in the eighties, than having an intellectual discussion about literature with my friends. Reading a book was indeed a symbol of pun
ishment for children as it was a daily requirement impose by our parents. As a contrast, our parents considered the book as leisure and provided an in-depth discussion among social meetings with friends. Reading the article “The lost art of reading” by David L. Ulin, I started thinking about the effect of new technology such as Nintendo Game on what we consider as a book. It has been debated the introduction of new technology supports the myth of new media suppressing and will extinct the use of the book.
My love of reading started with the discovery of the comic book. It was appealing to read sequential panels representing individual scenes that create a story. The panels were composed of brief art accompanied with written narrative contained in word balloons creating an ultimate heroic adventure. Daredevil a character of many young child discussion was similar to a literary discussion of Beowulf character. Indeed, the form and presentation are different. However, the reading accomplishes the same outcome. The subjects will provide the discussion of the plots, an analysis of the hero character, the importance of the scenes and the simulation of creativity and innovation. In both cases we become the hero in this journey as convey in Ulin idea that “we possess the book we read” and the book we read is “filling us with thoughts and observations asking us to make part of ourselves.” Without doubts, the books either comic or literature “enlarge us by giving direct access to experiences, not our own” as suggested by Conroy in Ulin article. Hence the reason my bedroom was stacked with comic books similar to Ulin illustration of being surrounded by stacks of books.
In researching my current reading habits I used Rescue Time a software a personal analytics service that tracks how you spend your time in addition to recording on paper my non-electronic activities. I recorded 66.31 hours of activities for 5 days and notice reading for leisure was minimal. The bulk of my reading is outlined in the following categories. Digital entertainment was the leader consuming 39% of my activities. The data reveal the focus of my distractions was the time I spent on games and video streaming. It was no surprise the runner-up was work related activities. I am on the computer writing emails, creating spreadsheets, querying databases for 8 hours per day. The third position was Digital school related with 15% of recorded activities. Listed at the bottom was print reading for entertainment. This activity was only recorded while reading a newspaper. My love for comic books converted to watching anime on hulu.com. Using Ulin as a lens my reading habits would be unreal. He would recommend that I slow down, reflect, unhook and retreat in a quiet place in order for real reading to come in.
Where did I lose my passion for reading? According to the data, my focus is on digital entertainment and work. Ulin would suggest that it is an elementary question that requires circling back to reading and to the focus it requires as a solution. First need access to reading material regardless of the medium, electronic or paper, and locate a nice quiet environment to focus on readings that will stimulate the imagination. With imagination comes creativity and innovation that will create a better future. And as Albert Einstein so eloquently stated: “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.” Technology will not suppress the message a book carries; it is another medium where we embrace the world of our heroes.