The “Culture of Reading”

Just like any addictive reader, I am in the habit of reading everything and anything. Sometimes I think I “sleepread”. You know. . . when you are sitting in a car, dreamily staring out of the window. You “donot” have to drive, and your eyes are reading everything: the random poster on a pillar rushing by; a hoarding; things people like to stick on their cars. . . You get the flow? I sometimes think that I am reading compulsively, unconsciously, if that is possible.

So what actually got me rambling was this interesting headline I saw on the hoarding promoting the World Book Fair on in New Delhi right now. It said let’s promote/protect the Culture of Reading. And I was struck. I wrote promote/protect since I registered the “Culture” bit so strongly that I forgot the earlier words. And it got me thinking.

A “culture” of reading? What an interesting concept/ idea. Really, hats off to the person who thought of it. But is there anything like a culture of reading. I have heard it called a habit, a compulsion, even an addiction but a culture? It made me also think whether I, and many like me, are really that “cultured”. Frankly, I was feeling a bit proud. Like being part of a civilization whose culture I and my parents have helped protect and persevere by becoming this unnecessarily  book buying, always reading person! In fact I have so many books now that sometimes I don’t read them to preserve them for old age when I may not have money to buy. 🙂

But seriously, is Reading a culture? Or we need to make it one because there are so many people concerned about the lack of interest in Reading these days. What with the influx of internet and incessant 24 hour TV. I visited the Book Fair, I always do. It’s like a pilgrimage and now that I can flash my publishers discount its a load of fun. I can see the dent that e-books and self-publishing is making in the industry. In fact I think that its made the industry even more dynamic. Even I want to self publish. But I never really think that reading can go out of fashion. It may change its form. But read we always will. So will this culture become an always evolving, new phenomena?

In fact I see the youngsters in my family read. It definitely needs to be cultivated but you will always find readers and non-readers in any age.

So what do you think, is reading a culture, a habit or an obsession? What would it mean to you?


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