This week Fandango’s Provocative Question is about books and reading. He says:
There was a time in my life when I was a voracious reader. Yes, reader, not eater. I was never a voracious eater. But I digress. My point is, in the days before the internet, before WordPress, before Facebook and Twitter and TikTok and YouTube and binge-watching on Netflix; in the days before having the world at you fingertips with newsfeeds on mobile phones, before…well you get my drift…I used to devour between three and five books a week. Mostly novels.https://fivedotoh.com/2022/11/23/fandangos-provocative-question-191/
With all of the distractions mentioned above, do you read books as much nowadays as you used to ten, twenty, or thirty years ago? Why or why not?
I still read although some of my reading is now done on my Kindle. Does that still count? I honestly couldn’t say if I read as much now that there are so many other distractions. Of course the internet is a big distraction. A lot of what I’m doing there is reading too, news articles, blogs etc so I am still reading but not always books. The internet has largely taken the place of newspapers and magazines for me.
One of the things that has curtailed my reading a bit is that I don’t have proper bookshelves in this house. I had several at the old place plus shelves fitted onto the walls. Most of those bookshelves have now been repurposed for other storage or are in the garage so I don’t have my books all around the house like I used to. I do have some books in the house but I can’t go and randomly get a book that I’ve been thinking about as easily.
Another time that I would read a lot is on public transport. In Adelaide I always had a book in my bag for the trip to work on the train. The bus trip from Geeveston to Hobart was over an hour plus time waiting for the bus so that was also reading time. I don’t really use public transport any more though.
I rarely buy books now because I have nowhere to put them. I used to buy a lot of secondhand books at one time. I can get a lot of free or very cheap books on the Kindle and don’t have to worry about what to do with them afterwards. New books have become expensive to buy and that’s another reason I don’t buy them all that often. It’s not that I don’t want to buy books, I just can’t afford to even if I had the room.
I still do have access to books though. At the visitor centre where I volunteer there is a book swap box and I will often go and browse through it and take a book to read at quiet times. We had a lot of quiet days when we first reopened after the pandemic lockdowns especially through the winter so when there are no visitors to talk to and no busy work I read. I’ve probably read three or four books there this year.
With my Kindle I tend to go in cycles of reading several books one after the other and then maybe not touching it for a couple of weeks. I tend to read mostly fiction at the visitor centre and on the Kindle but a lot of my own books are non fiction books about dolls, trains, travel, local history and other subjects that interest me although I do have fiction too.
I am tempted to say that I read fewer books now but I’m not sure if that is really true. I still read in preference to watching TV a lot of the time. I have a book or the Kindle in my bag so that I can read while I’m waiting for Naomi to pick me up or for a taxi or for someone to let me in if I arrive at the visitor centre early. I have dabbled in audio books a little too. I enjoy listening to them but if I listen in bed I will fall asleep and lose my place.
I have had conversations with friends my own age and older and many of them have got rid of their old books. They still read, but they read on a tablet or eReader and they still buy new books from time to time or use the library. I’m not good at remembering to take library books back. They still read books they just don’t want the clutter of a lot of books. Most of them have digitised their music for the same reason.