Do people still read literature?

This modern age provides us with so many convenient amenities such as mobile phones and tablets its easy to forget about the humble book.

The mechanical printing press was first invented in China in 1040 AD and later the moveable mechanical version was created by Johannes Gutenberg in Germany in 1450.

It’s widely accredited as being the most important invention in history because with it books became far more commonplace and it made it far easier for poorer people to become literate.

Now, however, it could be said that many young people just don’t care for reading.

For example, I recently travelled on a very crowded train from Dublin to Newbridge. The carriage was full of people of all ages all with their own way of passing the time.

Of the dozen or so young people I could see none of them were reading and were instead listening to music (still a good thing depending on their taste in music) or just staring at their phones. Even the elderly group sitting at the table across from me had their smartphones out checking Facebook! Being the only one in the carriage reading I felt like some sort anomaly.

Terry Pratchet’s wonderful Raising Steam kept me entertained for the 45 minute journey but I was still left wondering if any students still care for any form of literature these days.

Does the average teenager or student really care for reading as much as they do Geordie Shore? Well I think we might just be able to say yes on this occasion.

The classic works of the great J.R.R. Tolkien still remain eternally popular in this age as they were 50 years ago. The first edition of The Hobbit only had a run of 1,500 in 1937 but I’m sure C.S. Lewis’ son giving it a sparkling review may have helped it gain popularity. Of course the movies of Peter Jackson have helped keep Middle Earth alive in the 21st century but the books themselves and Tolkien’s other work such as the Silmarillion will endure for many years to come.

In DCU the Book Society help students to get back in to proper reading habits after the textbook overload of the Leaving Certificate.

With 115 members the society is helping keep reading (of any genre) to fore of student’s minds. Reading is after all the best way to train your brain and improving your memory. The society chooses a book to read every two weeks and the members then meet up to discuss it.

Think of them as modern day Greeks debating writing, minus the togas.

The society even organizes table quizzes to test its members literal knowledge.

The next one takes place in Matt Weldon’s on Thursday April 9th. We must remember how important books can be in our lives. As a method of escape or a lifeline in hard times a book with a great story can’t be replaced by a Kindle.

By Glen Murphy

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