Put Down The Phone, Pick Up A Book: The Lost Art Of Reading

By Kate

When I was preteen on the brink of hormonal explosion, I would fantasize about the days when I was an adult and had a “grown-up” apartment.

In this “grown-up” apartment, I would have a wall full of books, like my own personal literary oasis.

The wall or room (depending on how rich I felt I was going to be that day), would be neatly organized and strategically set up so, visually, my “grown-up” apartment could be photographed for Real Simple magazine at any given time, just in case.

This immaculate spectacle of written word would only suggest how sophisticated and well-read I’d become in my adult years.

“Haha, take that!” I would think, referring to all the miserable, little sh*t heads who copied my homework in grade school.

“I’ve got a ‘grown-up’ literature collection because I’m uber sophisticated and well-read. How’s the view from the drive thru window?” Mwahaha.

Flashing forward to the “grown-up” apartment I have now, I still kept that childlike desire to have a wall of books.

The studio apartment I grossly overpay for and can barely fit into does have one forgiving attribute: the floor-to-ceiling built-in bookcase.

Sploosh. Yup, that’s right, floor to ceiling! I knew I became old the minute I walked into this pea-sized space and cried out in joy, “Oh god, look at the molding! And, oh sh*t, a built-in bookcase?”

My mother would be proud. But, in all seriousness, it is the beautifully slanted, old-timey bookcase I so desperately wanted.

Now, I can finally say I have that wall of books and I’m that uber sophisticated chick with her very own “grown-up” apartment, right?


I didn’t realize creating such a masterpiece of decor would require a crap load of books. My tiny collection of pieces I’ve read over the years while in school and on vacations hasn’t amounted to the sizable collection I had hoped for.

But, nevertheless, I would not be a cop-out and buy my way into sophistication. Nope, not me.

I would just have to start reading more -- a lot more. Probably more than I had ever read at college, high school and possibly even sixth grade. For some odd reason, I remember reading a lot of crap in sixth grade. Not sure why.

So, for the past seven months, I’ve delved into the deep end of the literary world, really chewing on some great works to add to the collection.

How many great works you ask? Five. Five? Yes, just five. No, I do not need Hooked On Phonics, but thank you for the concern.

Quality over quantity right? Nope, that’s another BS excuse to make myself feel better about not expanding my literary repetoire.

It’s just, life gets in the way. And, by life, I mean electronics. The damn Netflix gets me every time! It’s hard to disconnect and sit unattached to the digital world with a 400-word novel these days.

I barely know anyone who goes into a bookstore to buy a book, let alone sit and read one.

I think the last time I took a book out of the library for pleasure was in high school, and I'm pretty sure it had a “romantic” scene in there, so, basically, I was trying to get my hands on soft-core porn pre- "Fifty Shades of Grey."

It’s terrible to think we exist these days, so disconnected to books for pleasure. Our instantaneous “get it now” culture is killing this age-old pastime.

Remember "Goosebumps?" Ya, that sh*t was great! But, who needs to sit and read the entire book when you’ve got Cliff Notes, or some assh*le blogger who thinks he’s the next New York Times best-seller’s critic, plastering a crappy 10-sentence overview all over the web?

The Atlantic published an article online citing the Pew Research Center had reported 23 percent of all Americans hadn’t read one book last year, and that within the last decade, there has been a 7 percent drop in reading for pleasure amongst 18- to 24-year-olds.

Not a crazy drop, but at that rate, in the next 40 years, the gap will increase to over 20 percent. Libraries will probably be the size of my studio apartment.

Reading is not for everyone -- that’s just the truth. But, for the people who do enjoy reading, or did at one time in their lives, they cannot let this act die out.

Reading is not just good for the soul, but also proven to strengthen our brains, protecting us from dementia in our really old days.

It’s also a calming, de-stressing action we can take time out from our hectic digital days to do. Being able to cite a piece of old literature is impressive, and to some ladies or fellas out there, highly attractive.

So, put down the phone and pick up a book, people! And, in an effort to practice what I preach, I’ll be setting up a summer reading list for myself and, of course, my fancy bookcase.