The Balanced Book Shelf
The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.
~ Dr. Seuss
We are never too old to stop learning. And as Dr. Suess so wisely says ( how awesome was he?) the more that you learn the more places you will go.
It’s no secret that reading, the reading of books is down. You get mixed stats, audio books are being consumed at a higher rate. E-Books sales are apparently down. The independent bookstore is an endangered species and Barnes and Noble’s stores are shuttering at an alarming rate. The smartphone and Netflixization of our culture have resulted in people not just abandoning books as a form or entertainment, enlightenment, and escapism, but the average person’s concentration abilities have diminished to the point they just can’t focus long enough to read a full book.
“The average human attention span has fallen from 12 seconds in 2000, or around the time the mobile revolution began, to eight seconds. Goldfish, meanwhile, are believed to have an attention span of nine seconds.”
It’s hard to get through a book if you can only focus for eight seconds at a stretch. But meanwhile, goldfish are devouring everything from Stephen King to Tolstoy.
If we are aiming for balance here, books have to be an integral part of our lives. Books wake us up, shake us up, they take us on adventures and pose and answer pertinent questions. I have been devouring self-help books since I was fourteen. There has never been a time when I was not reading something in the form of a book. It breaks my heart as both a writer and consumer of books to see so few people taking part in them.
Next time you are in any form of public transportation be it a subway, a bus or a plane, look around and count how many people are reading a book. Granted they might be reading one on their phones, but chances are they are playing Candy Crush or scrolling their Instagram feed.
And don’t get me wrong, I’m as hooked on Instagram as the next sixteen-year-old, but I allow a certain amount of time each day to read a book. Reading centers me, it never ceases to teach me something. I actually read with a little pack of sticky tabs that I mark the pages and sections I want to return to. And being a seeker reading leads me down so many paths I could have never found without the help of books.
These stats are slightly upsetting.
You can’t be a balanced human being and spend your time staring at a tiny screen, binge-watching Travelers, and looking at three-minute cake demos on Buzz Feed. You can do all of the above, but again, not at the expense of other activities.
So here on Balance and Beam, we are big on books. We will have our Bookshelf that we will constantly be adding to and we will have book reviews and suggestions. We might even have some book giveaways.
The average American watches five hours of TV a day. FIVE HOURS! That’s thirty-five hours a week, for those of you without a calculator handy. But the really scary thing is people fifty and over, yes, that would be many of you – watch the most TV, fifty hours a week in front of the boob tube. And it makes total sense as people over fifty also read the fewest books of anyone else.
Come on Boomers, let’s find some balance here. Is that how you want to spend your final thirty – less educated than a goldfish?