We all have our own reasons to explain our love of reading, and it really is one of my favourite things to discuss – after all, what could be better than talking about our shared adoration of Harry Potter, or sharing our favourite childhood books? But outside of this amazing community, we all have friends and family who do not share this love of reading. In fact, I have heard from so many people that the reason they turned to blogging was because they had nobody to talk to about books in real life – that was certainly the case for me. So, today I thought I’d discuss something a little harder for us to relate to – why people don’t read.
I’m actually gutted to have to admit this, but the primary reason I heard for why people don’t read is the internet. And most specifically, YouTube. Lots of my friends told me that they read a lot more when they were younger, and can link the age they discovered social media to when their love of reading ended. Of course, it can also be to do with a lack of time. Until recently, I found it so difficult to understand how some people simply didn’t have time to read, but the new school year has led to my free time diminishing hugely, and I have found myself really short of time to pick up a book. Often, I sacrifice sleep for reading time. For many people, reading is not what they feel like doing last thing at night when they’re ready to fall asleep, and if that’s the only time they have spare, then they just won’t read.
As we get older, people stop encouraging us to read. By this, I’m very much referring to recreational reading – in primary school, we have designated reading time, class books and reading diaries to fill out. In my secondary school, up until Year Nine we had a library lesson each week to read. But in recent years, the only time reading has been brought up is when teachers are urging students to read academic books, to strengthen our personal statements. And quite honestly, if twelve year old me had been told the only thing I was ‘allowed’ to read was Dickens and Shakespeare, I probably would have thought screw this, I’ll just stick to YouTube, and never have become the reader I am today. For many people, reading is simply schoolwork.
Another huge factor is that a lot of people just aren’t aware of the huge array of genres out there. I have friends who only like to read non-fiction books, which do very much count as books, and I am so glad that these friends have been able to find genres they like that aren’t just YA or classical fiction, especially as we really aren’t given much guidance or encouragement from authoritative figures. However, I have plenty of other friends that are not interested in the main genres we have been introduced to, and don’t know enough about any of the others to try something different.
There are countless reasons why people don’t read, and I have barely scraped the surface in this discussion; there are, as well, people who just do not like reading (although this is a reason I will never understand). After all, we all like to hear a story, but stories can be told through films as well as books, and when you consider all the entertainment outlets available to us nowadays, it’s hardly surprising so fewer people read. We all know people who do not read, and I would love to hear more explanations, so feel free to share your thoughts on the matter with me!