The death of books

Like newspapers, basic grammar skills and people who don’t own an iPhone, books are becoming obsolete. While it’s romantic to see someone with their head bent over a book like their neck has been broken, so absorbed in the eloquent words of some famished author sitting in his hut writing with parchment and candlelight that they aren’t aware of their surroundings, it’s not so sentimental when necks are broken for iPhones and mindless scrolling of a news feed. This is, to make an uneducated guess, what 90% of people in Melbourne do. I can’t speak for other people than the ones I study on the tram. Perhaps Adelaide is overpopulated with book-readers.It is also my belief (another uneducated statement) that women read more than men. When there was the pandemic of readers going wild over Fifty Shades of Grey, they were all women. Although…that can’t really be called literature. It’s just porn put into words.

So with a world devoid of book-readers, what are the ones doing who actually read books? Do they assimilate themselves into the wider society? Do they leave their book reading to the safe confines of their bedroom where they won’t stand out, or do they proudly bear their tattered novels in front of the iPhone zombies who won’t notice anyway? Do they convert to Kindles? Do they read A Song of Ice and Fire and just pretend to their non-book-reading friends that they watched Game of Thrones? These questions are complex, and I know few who can answer them. Although, as a book-reader myself, I can answer them.

1. I would say that, yes, I have assimilated myself into the wider society of non-book-readers. While this may be frustrating at times, it makes the rare moment when I see a person with a book even more special.

2. I proudly read my books in public. On the tram, I put my iPhone in my bag and open those papery pages of writing, which I proceed to read. Crazy, I know, but simple.

3. I will never convert to Kindles. Half of the fun of reading is holding the pages bound together, which have that sweet musty smell and could be older than you, and turning each page with the danger of getting a paper cut. It’s outlandish, it’s daring, and it’s rewarding.

4. To my shame, I haven’t read A Song of Ice and Fire. I’ve only watched Game of Thrones. When I finish uni and have unlimited free time (Job? What job?), I’ll read them.

One last word to the single ladies and men out there attempting to pick up somebody, or some booty: reading is sexy. That term is over-used and cliche, but telling someone you read demonstrates that you are intelligent, interesting, have enough attention span to stick with something for a while, and that you are more knowledgeable than those other contestants around you who don’t read. At a pub last night, I began a conversation with a guy who read. I was shocked when I first heard the words come from his mouth. They left me in a stupor. We talked about Hemingway, Marquez, politics, Monsanto, the intricacies of Game of Thrones, religion. I was in love (with his mind). He actually READ. If I were single, I would have gone home with him and had some (book) action.


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