I’ve lost touch with reading. Between discovering technology and then boys, reading took a back seat.
According to my Goodreads profile, I read 43 books in 2012, compared with 25 the year after, when I got my first tablet, and 10 the year after, when I got my first boyfriend.
This year, though, my New Year’s resolution is to read more books.
So far, it’s going ok. I’ve read 6 books, which has nothing on what I used to read, but it’s a start.
Embarrassingly, my reconnection with reading can be pinned solely on one thing: the convenience of electronic books.
I was all for the anti-e-reader movement, to begin with. Nothing quite compares to a real, printed book, with its smell and its cover. I maintain that when I get published, I want it to be in print form.
My faith to print wavered when I found a book I wanted that was unavailable in print. I tried to resist it, I really did, but in the end, my dedication to the series won over my dedication to the format. My family, luckily, happened to have recently bought a Kindle anyway, so it was good timing.
Once I had finished the book, I was tempted by the 1000s of free books that Amazon had on sale, downloading a tonne of them. It didn’t fill up the already heaving shelves in my room, and best of all it decreased the price of my book habit considerably.
Needless to say, I was converted. While I still bought print books, this was mostly a denial of the immorality I was starting to face.
It wasn’t until 2016 that I truly became what I hate – someone that reads on their phone. Five years before, this was unimaginable to me. I would have seen this as a betrayal.
By this time, I was about to sit my GCSEs. While I still carried a print book in my bag every day, it would almost always come home bent, ink-stained, and sometimes even torn. Not to mention the fact that the bookmark kept falling out. My phone, however, was portable as ever. Not to mention how its backlight meant I could read in the dark.
It came to the choice between downloading the Kindle app, or barely reading at all. With everything else that was going on, the whole ritual of picking out a book and sitting to read it barely crossed my mind, whereas simply switching apps for a few minutes took no effort. Reading became enjoyable again, as opposed to yet another task that I knew I should have been doing.
I do understand the whole idea behind the experience of the smell and feel of a book, but surely once you get engrossed enough, that doesn’t even cross your mind. Narnia is still Narnia, whether you get there through paper or a screen.
Would it be great if everyone read print books? Sure. But with things the way they are, when 36% of adults and 44% of young people in the UK don’t read for pleasure[source], why does it matter how people are reading? It amazes me that the same people that preach how important reading is are often the ones that claim that anything electronic doesn’t count. That’s like claiming that the only real writers are the ones who write on a typewriter.
So, yes, I admit it. I read on my phone. But that doesn’t make me any less of a reader.