Monday, August 31, 2009

What's The Point Of Buying A Book?

I’m doing a very quick survey for a publisher on reluctant readers and I was horrified to find out that one of my relatives who I thought had a nodding acquaintance with books was no reader at all.

In fact, his views on books, and willingness to pass those views to a child, made me consider that he's not as sensible as I thought he was.

The following is a scene took place this past weekend while we were visiting my family in Phokeng. Baby was just chilling, reading AIR HEAD – BEING NIKKI, by Meg Cabot.

Adult Male Relative: Why do you read so much?
Baby: Because I enjoy it.
AML: [grunt]And what do you do with the book once you’ve finished reading it?
Baby: I put it on my bookshelf. Then whenever I want to read it again, I can do so.
AML: I really don’t understand the point of buying a book. Once you’ve read it, you know the story and there’s no point of reading it again. It's a waste of money, and you might as well throw it away afterwards.

"How can you learn anything new if you never read," I wanted to ask him. I would have understood if he at least non-fiction in a variety of subjects, but he told Baby that he only reads material that has to do with his job.

I decided not to interfere while Baby tried to explain why reading was important to her, and why good books were worth reading again. Sadly enough, AML blew off her explanation, saying he had better things to do with his time and money than spend them on books.

Now keep in mind that AML is in his early twenties. I shudder to think about his spending the rest of his life - and it could be a long life - never reading a book unless he has to. Grrrrrrrrrrr!

OK, now tha I got that out of my system, my question to you as a reader, writer, blogger and parent is this: Put yourself in Baby’s shoes. How would you have answered the question?


Sally said...

My comment got lost, oh dear will try again.

There is no answer that you can give people who do not read to make them understand. I was married to a person who did not read or understand the need to read for pleasure and the great benefit that books can be in one's life.

I think it might have been one of the things that drove us apart. I guess that sounds a bit drastic to say that reading and not reading can cause a relationship to end but it is the difference in life view.

One is being open to learning and new ideas and always being willing to grow and be challenged, they other is so much more closed.

I had this debate with my ex so many time and I just don't think it is one that you can win.

But as parents we should be trying to foster a love of learning in our kids. We need to read to them, let them see us read and show the value of fiction and non-fiction in their lives to help them grow as people

Laura said...

Why do I read? Well I dont read as much as I want to - there just isnt enough time!

But when I do its a form of escapsm for me! I get to live in the world of the characters. And obviously there is the learning and discovering! I love the english language so being able to revel in words for me is a huge treat!

Why do I keep books? I cant answer that but there is NOTHING as calming as a library - all those books all over. All those words and stories - even the ones you know. Its unexplainable!

Tamara said...


Teach me, feed me, take me away to new worlds.

And they smell nice.

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