June 10, 2008

Bringing Reading Back

Sometimes I consider myself to be one of the last readers of my generation, which I believe is either X or Y… it’s hard to keep the generation letter straight sometimes. Anyways, my generation was born out of the 80’s; I’m an ‘85 girl myself. All of us, whether we attended public or private school, had English classes where teachers would force us to read. Generally, the students treated reading the assigned books as if forcing themselves to swallow a deadly poison. The Grapes of Wrath was equivalent to a spoonful of cyanide. Reading for pleasure was quickly replaced by the Nintendo 64 and Sony Playstation. I adored the reading and enjoyed most of what was assigned, with a few exceptions (I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to pick up anything Nathaniel Hawthorne ever again…). However, I was in the minority… “no one” liked to read.

So how was reading ever going to make a comeback? While many people will roll their eyes in disgust at what I think brought it back into popularity, it is undeniable. J.K. Rowling and her boy wizard brought literature back to the masses. The Harry Potter series not only made Rowling the wealthiest writer in the world, but it also turned huge profits for book stores as well. The genius behind the franchize is that it appeals to most ages, which drives book sales. I’m 22 years old and still was in attendence at the “Midnight Madness” party at Barnes & Noble, waiting to get my copy of the final installment. And yes, I had a t-shirt: “I Wish I Were A Weasley.” But the point is that I waited in line with 30-something year olds (who were not with children), and with 12 year olds.

Harry Potter may be a bit “in your face” with movies, action figures, and an amusement park opening in the next yearor two…. but it did bring reading back into fashion. The evidence is clear when looking at the other movies that have been adapted from books, thus launching the books to best seller status. Ian McEwan’s Atonement, Philippa Gregory’s The Other Boleyn Girl, etc. People like me, who gulped down my English teacher’s poison with the enthusiasm of a cheerleader on game day, are lovin

No comments: