Have you ever been in a situation like this?
A: So what do you do in your spare time?
(And since people consider this boring, but you really don’t wanna deny who you are, especially if ‘A’ is a guy or girl you like, you opt for the truth)
YOU: I actually LOVE reading. (You start to wax on details) I don’t know, I just have fun with it, especially if the book is well written and I can’t put it down and it’s so real too like the same thing in the story happened/ is happening to me and…
(Then you get interrupted all of a sudden)
A: Wait wait wait… (the ‘I-Can’t-Believe-You’re-Serious-Look’). You like reading? As in you would spend ALLLL your spare time just… reading?
YOU: (Actually being serious) Um… yea…?
A: So… You don’t do anything else? You don’t have, like a hobby or something?
YOU: Reading is a hobby still… (Then you notice the ‘I-Can’t-Believe-You’re-Serious-Look’ again) Ok ok, yeah I like to…
And you list the details, but none of them gain as much emphasis because really, reading may be your one and only talent worth expounding on.
But why is it so hard to relate to people about the joys gained from exploring a sometimes completely fictional world? Or even being able to finally connect with someone who knows what you’re going through (even if that someone isn’t necessarily real)?
I find myself in the same position EVERY TIME, and each time I wonder at these same questions. No matter what I do, or how cleverly I deliver the reasons why reading is so fun to me, I can never get someone to try adopting the habit.
The problem I think lies directly with the evolution of technology. One, speed means everything, and quite frankly, reading tek too long! Speaking from experience, it sometimes causes me to miss chores or forget other obligations, which usually gets me trouble. Secondly, why take up a dry old book where everything is black and white and mostly has no pictures? The present generation lives for movement, vibrant colours, ready-made pictures and sounds. A book… doesn’t give you all of that in the first word, but with a computer, TV, a phone, anything portable with a battery in it, you can get that as soon as the program begins.
In Jamaica, it goes further than that. The problem also lies in the discrepancy of the languages spoken here. When you find that MAJORITY (and I do actually mean maybe 98% – I’m only guessing) of the population is fluent in Jamaican Creole (JC), but cannot spell or write it formally (because no formal method of doing so is ever taught), and that that same percentage is only taught Standard Jamaican English (SJE), then persons tend to lack interest in the stories written extensively in SJE. This is because, whether we want to admit it or not, we LOVE JC. Yep. Nothing gets a point across more effectively in Jamaica than a good ole piece of creole flung in your face.
(There is a subconscious perception that SJE is too ‘nice’ a tool to make you grasp completely the meaning one intends, and that since JC is the supposedly ‘debased’ form of SJE, and since the point desired is usually a vulgar one, the best one to use would of course be JC)
But back to the main topic at hand. Because Jamaicans use JC 99% of the time anyway, we’ve developed a distaste for anything written in SJE because it is, simply put, not us. Have you ever heard the phrase “If yuh wah hide sumn from black man, put in a book”? Then you’ll see why I always encounter the problem in the anecdote.
How to Resolve the Issue
If you live anywhere with people like Jamaicans, then sorry to say, I really don’t have a solution for you. Jamaicans and the like are VERY STUBBORN people. You might get them to conform to your wishes for so long. So if you’re looking for long-term conformance, don’t waste your energy. That is of course, unless you have a very innovative way of getting the desired results.
On the other hand, if you have a bunch of friends, a relative, etc, who are worth spending the time on, you could get them to read by one of the following ways:
– Quote an attention grabbing line from the book without warning. This will work because then they’ll be wondering what you’re talking about, where that line came from, what it relates to… essentially, they might, just might, wanna read the book themselves. (But don’t get your hopes up. They may only wanna read a chapter or just the paragraph the line came from. Or nothing at all.)
– Ask them one or two questions based on what you’ve read. This is a sneaky way of introducing the book into their interest. eg. “If you got thrown in an arena against your will with your bff and was told to fight till only one remains in order to win millions, would you do it?” The person may first answer, then ask where you got such a scenario from, which would give you a gateway to say, “Oh just a book I read.” If they take the bait, they might wanna know how the story ended, but instead of telling them, offer them a copy of the book (if you have it).
– Tell your version of the story. This may work best if the particular story comes in more than one part. That way you could summarize book 1, mention that there are sequels, and if they want, offer them the copies to those. The thing about this is that you have to have good storytelling skills – you have to relay the story in an interesting way so they’ll be excited to read it. Otherwise, it won’t work.
– Mention the movie version. Most good books nowadays are being movie-fied, which is perfect for such stubborn persons who are willing to miss a good time by not reading true masterpieces. Chances are though, the person may still lack interest, but it’s worth a try right? The key here is again to be able to wax poetic on the creativity and quality of the movie.
There are many other ways to get people to read that I can’t list in one post, but you could try to come up with your own methods. But if all else fails, don’t worry, you can still enjoy reading all by yourself right? Duh!
If you have any other suggestions to add to list, just drop them in the comment section below.
Hope you have a great week!
P.S. For all you reading fanatics, here’s a few books to try
– Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth.
– The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
– Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
– Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
– Q&A by Vikas Swaurp
– The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
They’re worth the read, TRUST ME.