Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Archive for the tag “mobile phones”

Reading is Dead. Long Live the Readers

Okay, so I might be getting a little carried away by getting excited at one quote from one young person, but I got very excited at this one quote from this one young person…

“Some weeks I completely forgot about TV. I went two weeks with only watching one show, or no shows at all. I was just reading every day.”

ELIANA LITOS, 11, on her new e-reader.

This quote appeared in the New York Times yesterday. Though my 12-year-old reads vivaciously, I know he is in a minority of his friends. They are undeniably a screen generation, actually a multi-screen generation, and everything seems to be defined through the pixels of a screen.

This is not to say that they are each ensnared in their own little worlds, they are excited and seek ways to reach out and share experiences with their friends – through screens.

So the emergence of e-readers, of reading on mobile phones and computers is, I think, a step in the right direction. Yes, there is something that they will miss in the sensory experience of holding and smelling a book, of hearing the page crack as it is turned over.

But this generation never knew the experience of taking that vinyl record out of its sleeve, of reverently wiping the dist off and laying it onto the record player, before making alchemy of needle + vinyl = music. And yet, they still get the rush of a great song, of their body moving involuntarily to the beat, of the clarity of telling lyrics.

Am I getting carried away from one quote? Perhaps. Summer has arrived (so far) to Berkeley. The sky is blue, the air pungent, and everything’s gonna be alright!


Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist (now available on Kindle) and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at www.alonshalev.com


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