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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Books dying quicker

Photo credit: Briana Mcdaniel

Studies from Pew Research show that nearly a quarter of Americans haven’t read a book in the last year. This number has tripled since 1978 and has steadily been getting larger over time.

Millennials read a good amount, but it’s hardly ever very serious reading. Since most millennials have smartphones today, their time is spent reading articles, Facebook statuses or Instagram captions. It’s nearly impossible to find a student who truly enjoys reading Shakespeare or Steinbeck.

Literature used to be a key part of our culture and one of our primary forms of entertainment. It used to be a privilege to be able to read. Today, serious reading has lost its value and classic works of literature are looked at as much more of a burden than anything worth spending time on.

We live in a time where people are free to entertain themselves in many different ways and we aren’t as dependent on reading. But there are consequences from not reading literature. These consequences seem to be revealing themselves in our own culture.

Reading has been studied and shown to have benefits in several different places. Reading has been shown to increase concentration, increase vocabulary and even reduce stress.

What’s interesting is that in the same amount of time our readership has gone down, studies show that our stress levels have risen and our attention span has dropped below the attention span of a goldfish. It may seem like I’m linking our lack of readership to things that have no connection to reading, but all I’m saying is that there are major effects to abandoning books, and sometimes these effects may go unnoticed.

Besides being an overall healthy habit, reading is actually a much more enjoyable hobby than most people like to believe. I used to hate reading myself and I can remember how incredibly dry books were in high school. But the problem was never the books, the problem was me and my lack of appreciation for the material.

Reading is also one of the most affordable forms of entertainment. Most books you can find for less than $20 and it’s rare to find any that exceed $40. It may sound like a lot of pages bound together, but you’re paying for hours of entertainment and an investment that will last.

Unlike a piece of technology, books don’t depend on a battery, don’t become, don’t require any extra payments to replace parts and aren’t affected by how overused they get. This may not apply as much if the book is in electronic form, but in that case, the book is most likely a lot cheaper for not being a hardcover.

Reading is one of the only productive ways people can entertain themselves, yet most people prefer to waste their time with other hobbies that don’t have nearly as much value.

Books are one of the most affordable, informative and amusing activities offered in our culture, yet it is the trend that is dying. If people are bored this break and looking for something to do, the oldest, most obvious answer is to go read a book.

Jeff Guzman can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.

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Jeff Guzman, Staff Writer

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    Mary Jo Boyle // Dec 7, 2016 at 7:43 pm

    As an avid reader, I appreciated this article!