In our 21st-century world, one might be pressured to believe that literature is no longer a significant form of entertainment. I have compiled here the reasons that I remain passionate about literature and why I believe that it is important in this technological world as it was in previous centuries.
I love stories and I am a strong believer in the idea that human beings are storytellers by nature. The story is what attracts me to different mediums of entertainment like books, movies, television, or plays.
It is my belief that literature is the best way to bring a story to life. Literature is a way of passing our stories down to future generations that provide the reader with a window to the past that reaches as far back as we as a species have been writing things down.
The Wealth of History
Movies and television have only been telling stories for about a century while we can read books that were written more than 2,000 years ago. A story carries the spirit of the age in which it was originally composed and thereby gives the reader a true look into the mind of one who lived in the past.
It is for this reason that I am fascinated by classic literature and continually seeks out gems that have remained hidden from me.
Reading is a Mental Exercise
Reading is the most immersive form of entertainment because our minds take what is on the page and create a world of experience that encapsulates us. The words guide us through the unfolding story but it is our own minds make the experience real in a way that watching cannot compare to.
When we see actors on a stage or on a screen, we are spectators who see what the director wants us to see. This is a passive form of entertainment that results in brain activity that resembles a state of being at rest whereas reading, like listening to music, compels us to fill in the lack of visual stimulation with our imagination.
It’s Like Guided Meditation
Because reading is so immersive it allows us to feel in a deep and penetrating way that is always safe. The emotions evoked by a story allow us to vicariously experience danger, excitement, terror, love, compassion, and an entire rollercoaster of sensations without risking physical harm or some other detriment.
I have a physical disability that prevents me from engaging in sports or combat but reading allows me to take part in the human experience in a way that is not otherwise possible.
Stories Reveal Truths
Fictitious stories have a way of illustrating truths that are difficult to face. The power of stories to teach is evident in the fact that every culture across the globe has been telling each other stories for as long as there have been other people to tell them to.
Literature preserves these stories and shows us the hopes, desires, fears, anxieties, and truths of a people under the protection of fiction. Writers see and hear everything that goes on around them and repeats it on the page through metaphor and exaggeration.
Entertainment for all Occasions
Literature serves at the readers pleasure and may be enjoyed as quickly, as slowly, or as often as one requires. It can be enjoyed anywhere and at any time, starting and stopping with the reader.
If you fall asleep reading the book does not keep going like the television does. You can read aloud to share the story with others or read silently so as not to disturb anyone who is otherwise occupied.
Books Don’t Require a System Update
There is a permanence to literature that is genuinely comforting. While stories on the screen can be preserved on DVD and Blu-ray, technology continues to evolve and the last copy of Star Wars that I owned without the director’s special edition changes was on VHS tape which has gone the way of 8-track.
While physical books are often replaced by a digital copy on an e-reader, the physical book will always be as accessible. The same cannot be said for VHS tapes or heaven forbid, Beta Max.
When you look at the invention of e-reader you can almost see the 21st century acknowledging the significance of literature as a medium of entertainment. Readers are a passionately fierce lot of people, in part because we have unlocked the magic of literature and we will always keep it close. It demands our attention but it gives us so much for that minimal sacrifice.