We have a lot going for us in this day and age. We’re probably most definitely more tech-savvy as a populace than most any generation prior, and if scientific and medical innovation continues at their current rate of progression, I foresee a day I might be able to consume as much McDonald’s as possible AND live to be at least a 150. All the drool inducing fries, M&M McFlurries, and Big Macs aside, though, one pattern I have noticed at least amongst my peer group is an upwards trend in fostering growth of our conventional knowledge through an online medium, whether it be reading blips out of the New York Times or Wall Street Journal every day, or catching up on how to sound as romantic as possible with just the right amount of fanciful words like the best of so many viral articles.
But is this always such a good thing?
We should close the laptops, lock the mobile screens, turn off the TVs that like to be on all day/night nowadays — and read a book, a trilogy, a series, a fucking encyclopedia if that’s what’s sounding most appealing at the moment. The point is, I myself can attest to the fact that for whatever reason, I was inspired to adopt this radical lifestyle a few short years ago and, of course, I didn’t cut out my consumption of online media/educated articles completely because that’d just be a whole lotta missed opportunities and information, but I did make a point of reserving as many evenings as possible to read some great books from authors both long passed, and still amongst the living.
I’ve dabbled with Hemingway’s booze-infused, undeniably genius, sometimes maddeningly confusing prose. I’ve danced around with Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ ironically not to my own choosing the first time around, but the subsidiary reading was, and is one of the better reads I’ve had to this day. I’ve immersed myself in a masterfully painted Stephen King epic novel or three, all of which were enthralling to the very soul while I read them, only to finish each one and wish that life boasted just a bit more of the supernaturally unexplainable occurrences without all the goose-bump-inspiring gore. I’ve lost myself in the swathe of greedy, corrupt, honorable, cunning cast of characters that each of George R.R. Martin’s books includes, only to finish each number in the series wishing that I had a gemstone-encrusted sword that’d put Excalibur to shame, and the company of a wise, old, stout fellow who takes his bacon burnt black and starts his day off with a tankard of dark beer. And there’s just a whole mess of other authors and intellectually stimulating works I could draw up right now for you to further back my point that sure, short and sweet online reads that might as well be one book titled ‘how to live your life, according to a bunch of people that are learning as they go’ (hey, there’ve been longer titles) are great. To an extent.
As a generation, we need to supplement these online reads with solid, physical, dust-worn, coffee- and tear-stained (maybe it was an emotional read) books. Books that might make our backpacks just a little bit heavier, but never fail to produce a grin that spans from cheek to cheek when we remember why it is that the pack is heavier in the first place. Books that say we’ll never have to spend a night alone, or waste away a 30 minute waiting line playing a simulation app that’ll only leave us infuriated, and seriously considering paying real money to acquire a certain amount of gems to continue playing. Books that’ll take us on a ride where we might learn how to feel again, or how to long for love again, or how to sound just a little bit more articulate with the implementation of a fanciful word or two.
So let it be written and thus read, I’m not calling for you to only read books, and I don’t speak to you through this text as an elitist that thinks he has it all figured out, ‘cause reader, I don’t, and I hope you’re aware none of us do. I’m simply offering a casual proposition, balance the reading you partake in on both the online and physical text medium alike and you might stand to be pleasantly surprised by the peace and serenity a well-developed cast of characters, and unpredictable plot can deliver to an otherwise insignificantly mundane day.