Reading in the time of technology

Lindsay Adams

This column is all about books; some books that have or will spawn television shows or movies, but still, just books. In almost all cases, the books are better. If you’re not a fan of reading or literature, let me just say that if you think you don’t like to read, it is probably because you haven’t found the right book yet.

I have always loved escaping, relaxing and exploring through reading. Once I started college, it progressively became more difficult to find time to read for pleasure on top of my already heavy literature-class workload. Many people feel they do not have time to read a book with busy schedules, and it discourages them from even starting.

Now for those of you who may be rolling your eyes and insisting you don’t have the time, you honestly do. It just requires you to take a break from other leisure activities. I’ve realized there is a very simple way to find time to read for leisure, and it is comprised of three simple steps.

1. Put away the computer beckoning you to immerse yourself in social networking and spoof videos. Even if you intend to buckle down and really start that book you’ve been meaning to read for the last month, you’ll never follow through with reading it if a friend sends a link with the next viral video or if you’re Facebook-stalking the cute guy who sits next to you in literature class.

2. Put away your phone and iPod. This will allow you to immerse yourself in a new world. While you are losing an hour of texting, emailing, internet chatting, Angry Birds or Annoying Orange Videos, the hour spent reading will more than make up for any possible trauma from technological withdrawal.

3. Find a quiet space for an hour or so. If you complete these three steps, you’re all set.

There is really nothing worse than taking the time to get into a book, and then having it disappoint you. Because of the time commitment it takes to finish a book, the bad taste it leaves is far bitterer than seeing a bad movie or television show.

Thus, over the next semester, I will be reviewing and suggesting great books and book series that will keep you on the edge of your seat, guessing whodunit, laughing, reading at stop signs and other various side effects of brilliant novels.

Over break I took advantage of the three weeks by trying to catch up on the reading I hadn’t kept up on during my semester. I finally read “Watchmen,” the iconic graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. It is about a wave of “superheroes” who fight crime. They are coined the “Watchmen” until they are torn apart by public fear, their own deep-seated insecurities and in-fighting. Once a controversial superhero, The Comedian, is found murdered, events are set into motion that bring the “watchmen” out of hiding, and set a relentless paranoid vigilante, Rorschach, into a search that leads to destruction. The nonlinear narrative sweeps between the many characters, times and planets. The depth of not only the story, but the drawing, lends itself to rereading and discovering the layers that create the novel. “Watchmen” creates a believable alternate U.S. history in which the story is set, using events such as the Vietnam War and The Cold War as the backdrop. The characters are compellingly and chillingly drawn, most notably in the character of Rorschach whose constantly shifting mask mimics his inscrutiable psyche. The unfolding of the story is long and tortured and one of the more impressive things I have experienced. This will captivate even those who are not graphic novel readers.

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