There is a freshness to a new book like no other. The clean feel of a newly printed page; the graphics on the cover shimmer and its hard smooth texture is pleasing to the touch. That new odour of freshly printed paper that urges you to listen as it speaks with every rustle of it’s pages.
I realise that this great pleasantry is reserved for only a few. For those who are in love with books; who enjoy the possession of something delivered by another human’s experience; for people who understand the joy of reading.
Reading, is apparently a lost discipline. I realise that the advent of the computer has change most everything but sadly it appears to have impacted on our ‘y’ gens who believe that reading is old fashioned and books are viewed as blackboards were when the white board hit the streets. Today we believe in images and symbols more than the beauty of a well crafted sentence.
Take an SMS message and read it carefully. It’s abbreviations and replacements would do justice to Pittman. ‘r’ replaces “are”; ‘u’ replaces “you” and ‘ru’ becomes the conjunctive question. I’m certain old Hiltler himself would have replaced the Enigma machine with our new found code. But all this is merely a diversion, for my issue is not with the bastardisation of the great English language, although lately, I hate what I see, hear and read. What concerns me most is that the very essence of the written word is under attack and it is already having a huge impact on our communication set.
Recently, I wrote a series of advertisements in which we very clearly and concisely articulated where a consumer should go to purchase a product. It appeared in eight editions of the newspaper and to boot was placed on the web site in a prominent position. We received numerous calls abusing me for not telling people where to purchase the products. Even when referring them to the written word we received a mouthful because, “well I didn’t see it there!”
This is a new phenomena and it’s not about poor communication on the writer’s part. In my opinion this is a consequence of a cultural backlash to reading and the consequent understanding of what we have read. The computer has driven us to speed – if it isn’t delivered quickly enough we revile in horror. If it takes too long it has no value, yet in the past, time to deliberate was perceived as wise and sensible. Not today, if your internet isn’t on the screen within two seconds people are driven to apoplexy.
So if you’ve managed to get this far, here’s a tip. Most, if not all stress, is caused by ourselves. You create the deadlines in 90% of cases and most deadlines are created by demands exterior to the need. Sure you need to be efficient and yes you need to deliver but activity should not be confused with accomplishment.
Reading is a self discipline and it should not be confused with some kind of match race. You can read the words but you MUST understand them for the communication to be complete. Please read with care and don’t let this good thing die.
Ah well! I’m off to get stuck into a good book. ‘It’s called ‘Speed Reading for Busy People’. Sorry got to dash!