Saturday, August 25, 2007

Reginald T. Dogan on Reading

Local Columnist Reginald T. Dogan has an engaging piece on the importance and the pleasures of reading in the Pensacola News Journal, Reading a Skill and a Passion Worth Developing and Nurturing.

Here are just a few selections from Dogan's essay:

"As we need nourishment for the body, we also need it for the mind. Books stimulate the mind, create understanding and cultivate knowledge and wisdom."

"You don't see folks sitting around reading like they used to. At airports, everybody is yapping or sending text messages on cell phones. In bookstores, of all places, they are sipping mocha or taking naps.It amazes me every time I watch the MTV show "Cribs." As the rich and famous give tours of their palatial homes, decorated with expensive furniture, with plasma TVs and exotic fish tanks, they never showcase their bookcases.More distressing is a report that says 42 percent of college graduates never read another book after college."


Joanne Whitlock said...

Funny...I was just thinking that. I was walking around Books-A-Million the other day and noticed the same thing. Many people I went to high school with have no interest in reading more than what's required at school. I, on the other hand, am a bookworm and spend far too much money building my personal library. I think a fondness for reading needs to begin early on in life and should continue to be a large part of the curriculum in schools.

David Thole said...

This is not entirely new. Henry David Thoreau goes on a rather extended harangue in Walden about the lack of quality in contemporary literature, as well as the lack of motivation to read by his peers. He states that most people are satisfied to "vegetate and dissipate their faculties in what is called easy reading." Thoreau goes on to state that to properly read literature, or books that he deemed worth of that title, "requires a training such as the athletes underwent, the steady intention almost of the whole life to this object."

The observations of Thoreau remain true to this day. With the advent of multi-media entertainment there is even less motivation for people to sit down and read. It is too easy to succumb to the instant gratification of television. Television, and movies as well, requires little in the way of critical thought. Everything is laid out for your consumption.

For a current rant about the state of literature see Ron Charles’s review of the last Harry Potter book here.

Robert Philen said...

Thanks, David, for the reminder that what Dogan is saying is not completely new, but is still relevant. Thanks also for the link. Robert