Reading Books Still an Age-Old Tradition?

There's a bookworm in each of us

Part of reading is loving the pictures too!
Part of reading is loving the pictures too!

The 'new' book

Johannes Gutenerg's Printing Press

Read a book or computer screen

It is my nightly ritual to read before going to sleep. I’m sure this is most everyone’s habit before turning in. The tension in my shoulders ease as I sigh after laying down, then pick up a the brand new hardcover book I had to read immediately and couldn’t wait until it came in paperback or the worn leafed- through paperback that has become a good friend often visited. Either way the story takes me away from the daily struggles and tribulations. And it is also the simple act of reading that is relaxing. Opening the cover and your fingers deftly turning the pages slowly or in haste depending on your involvement in the story. Soon you don’t even know you’re turning the pages so engrossed you are in the story. But what if it isn’t a book you’re reading but a computer screen? Would this deter your enjoyment of the written word?

Then invention of the Kindle has changed the printing business so drastically. To think that Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press back around 1454 and it has only taken over 500 years for a human being to read something other than on paper. If we can imagine how far back storytelling goes, examples of the Bible, Homer’s Iliad, and other ancient civilizations stories, which were passed down in the oral tradition, give us enormous insight to the human need for entertainment through stories. The Inca, Mayan, Aztec, Greek, Roman, Celt civilizations all followed the verbal method or shared their history with the next generation through art. It is mainly in part to the amazing ability of the human memory to keep so many stories alive until the Egyptian use of papyrus for paper. When a scribe could write for hours all the knowledge that the world had collected to that point. Which makes the destruction of the Library at Alexandria a colossal loss to the academic world. How many hundreds or thousands of scrolls could have furthered the ancient world and what might we known about the ancient world? As I try not to digress any further, the invention of the printing press made the act of reading available for the first time to people other than royalty or peerage.

As we in the modern times are so accustomed to having every convenience at our fingertips it is logical to see why the Kindle was invented so that we could not have one, but numerous books available to us while we sit at the airport or wait in the doctor’s office. Call me a purist, but I cannot willingly give up the pleasure of reading a printed book. Most likely my futile stance will have the same response as writers who wanted to stick with their pen after the invention of the typewriter. Gradually we all give in. Simplification of age-old habits takes much of the joy out of it. However, I need to clarify my view because, as a member of the millennial generation I cannot imagine life without a laptop or a cell phone. My high horse should probably bow its head for me to jump off because most refusals of advanced technology do not work but for a lover of history, the knowledge that I’m reading a book that was once read hundreds of years ago makes me feel a part of something grand. Like a continuation of history. And proof of the power of the written word and the authors’ ability to transcend generations with their novel.

I believe people will still enjoy books and even collect them for a library. As a former student a Kindle may be helpful with textbooks because carrying two twenty pound books gets tiresome for a semester. Technological advances will not cease, but there does come a time when we have to decide what traditions to cling to and what to accept in advancements. I can only think of the wonderful books I've read and how they shaped me. I'm sure everyone has a favorite novel that they read as a child or even young adult. Books have a power to capture our attention and imagination. They make us want to travel to far-off worlds maybe experience Spain like Hemmingway, the south like Faulkner, Russia like Tolstoy, Ireland like Joyce, Regency England like Austen, and other places that have been made famous by other authors. I know those feelings and desires will never leave readers, but it remains to be seen how future generations will view novels.

The Ancient Library at Alexandria

What we could have known....
What we could have known....

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Comments 18 comments

Rose West profile image

Rose West 7 years ago from Michigan

I agree with you: a kindle just doesn't compare to a paper-and-ink book. I'm sure the technology can be useful for something and someone, but I don't see how it will ever replace real books.

Kendall H. profile image

Kendall H. 7 years ago from Northern CA Author

Hi Rose West! Thanks for the comment. Since it's winter one of the best activities is sitting by a fire and curled up reading. I think for home use people will still use books but someone I see people using a kindle for travel just as people use ipods. But I too agree that nothing will could ever replace a real book!

Rose West profile image

Rose West 7 years ago from Michigan

btw, I really like your of my favorite paintings :)

Kendall H. profile image

Kendall H. 7 years ago from Northern CA Author

Thanks! Waterhouse did amazing paintings!

Kaie Arwen profile image

Kaie Arwen 7 years ago

I'll take the book over the computer anytime. Books are warm like home, even when you don't have the fire.

Computers? I admit to spending far more time sitting in front of one than I should, but I'll still take the book. Computers make fuzzy eyes; books, I can read all night if I want to, and if I do fall asleep with one in my hand the worse that can happen........... it crashes and burns in the imaginary fire. The computer, well, it's not looking good!

Kendall H. profile image

Kendall H. 7 years ago from Northern CA Author

I agree with you Kaie! Books will always be my first choice yet somehow the computer does seem to take over our lives far more than we ever expected!

E. Nicolson profile image

E. Nicolson 7 years ago

While I have grown to appreciate our present technology and even depend on it, I cannot coax myself into reading a computer screen as I would a book. I have tried, but there's nothing like the feel of a book in one's hands.

Kendall H. profile image

Kendall H. 7 years ago from Northern CA Author

Hi E. Nicolson! I too admit to enjoying the advantages that technology gives us but a book is just something too precious to let go of. Whenever I've had to proofread a story for a friend I don't feel the same emotions as I do when reading an actual book. Thanks for reading the hub!

Jane Grey profile image

Jane Grey 7 years ago from Oregon

Interesting that Amazon and Barnes and Noble are advertising their Nook and Kindle as "sold out" and "the most often sold item on Amazon" but I haven't heard of anyone who has one, wants one, or is anywhere near being convinced of getting one. I'm with you: there's nothing like curling in a blanket up by the fire and turning paper pages.

Kendall H. profile image

Kendall H. 7 years ago from Northern CA Author

The best part of the day can be curling up with a good book! Wow! I had no idea Kindles were that popular. I confess some relatives have bought Kindles but mainly because they travel a lot and don't want to carry books with them. We can't all be perfect. The other thing is that most male relatives of mine have what I call 'James Bond-itis.' They always have to get the new gadget. :)

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 7 years ago from England

Hi, Kendall, I can honestly say that I read every word, with interest. I did'nt know what those 'orrible!, little machines were called, but nobody, and I mean nobody is going to take my book away from me!! Seriously I quite agree, I have been reading ever since I was 4 years old, one book after another, and I won't be giving it up that easily. I also love you avatar, it is really nice. cheers Nell

Kendall H. profile image

Kendall H. 7 years ago from Northern CA Author

Hi Nell! Glad we agree how reading books should never go away! There are so many wonderful books to enjoy, I can't imagine why anyone would want to read a computer screen instead of pages in a hardcover. I love Waterhouse's paintings so it was an easy choice when deciding the avatar.

jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 7 years ago from Philippines

I love reading books too! I agree, nothing beats curling up in bed with a nice book! You should see my bedside table and even the foot part of my bed as well as the floor! I even have a notebook and pen beside all the books because I sometimes scribble things while I'm reading.

Thank you for this hub!

Kendall H. profile image

Kendall H. 7 years ago from Northern CA Author

Hi Jill! In a comic strip I saw once that said, "readers never go to bed alone." :) I too have books everywhere in my room that they are most useful in decorating purposes. Glad you enjoyed the hub!

missmaudie profile image

missmaudie 7 years ago from Brittany, France

I love my computer and my ipod touch and have books on both but it's just not the same. I do literally read books from cover to cover but you can't do that on a computer screen. We're gradually building a huge library in our home which we love doing. Nothing beats the feel of a book, especially an old second hand one, I love thinking about all the people who have read it before me.

Kendall H. profile image

Kendall H. 7 years ago from Northern CA Author

I agree with you missmaudie! I have a book that my great-great grandmother received for her 12th birthday and I love knowing how its been passed down through the centuries. Good luck with building the library! Having a library in my own home has long been a dream of mine. Thanks for reading!

Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 6 years ago from The English Midlands

I love my computer too ~ but books! Well, there is no comparison. :)

Kendall H. profile image

Kendall H. 6 years ago from Northern CA Author

A computer puts so much knowledge at our fingertips but a favorite novel can open a world that one can visit anytime. Thanks for commenting Trish!

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