Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Changes In Reading

I’ve been thinking about this a lot during the last week or so due to particular events and blog posts, and I thought I’d share my thoughts on the matter. 

I think we as readers have changed massively. Before the internet and television and video games came about, there wasn’t a lot to do in the way of entertainment (at least compared to our standards of entertainment). This changing technology has definitely reflected on us as readers, and thus on writers too. In order to keep up with the changing nature of readers, writers have had to exploit new methods, new ways of writing, to keep us all interested. 

In our technology 24/7 world, we’re used to instant gratification. How can we not be? There are so many sources of entertainment for us, the choice is almost ridiculous. So suffice to say, writers have had to make their writing more instantly gratifying in some ways simply to compete as a source of entertainment for us. 

I want to reference this post on Rachelle Gardener’s blog, by guest blogger Mike Duran. He looks at how reading has changed and how readers are forced to work less compared to books written decades ago; he also discusses how this is still in some respects true with literary fiction. He says: ‘among other things, the electronic age has heightened our expectations of a given media and lowered the requirement of participation’. I think this is completely true. Again, this goes back to the need for instant gratification; we’re so used to it, why would we as readers think any differently? 

Another point to make is how this is impacting on places like libraries and young readers. I’m volunteering at my local library this summer, and I was talking to one of the library staff, who had been working at the library for over thirty years. We ended up speaking about how hard it is to get children reading. This is a challenge enough in itself (I went through a phase of hating reading when I was young), but it’s becoming so much harder now the library has PS3s, Nintendo DS’, the internet and children’s television to compete with. Reading is becoming less and less obvious as a source of entertainment, and children have excuses to read less and less.

I’m currently reading To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf. And I have to say, reading this was the biggest influence for me to write this post. Because honestly, I’m finding it a very hard task. There definitely isn’t any instant gratification with this. It’s a novel which focuses purely on the thought tracks and actions of a normal family and their friends on holiday by a lighthouse. By today’s standards, it is quite tedious. I’m determined to get through it, but it’s hard. When you think that To The Lighthouse was written in 1927, and the writing style was seen to be quite radical in the context of the time, you can see a lot has changed. 

Reading has changed remarkably over the last century, and so have we both as readers and writers. We live in a different world compared to the one Virginia Woolf lived in, and that shows in our literature. 

Do you agree that our culture of instant gratification has changed us as readers? Have you had similar difficulties when reading classical novels? 


I was awarded me with the Fabulous Blog Ribbon Award, so thank you Bonnee

In order to accept this award you have to:

1. Post the rules on your blog.
2. Name five of your most fabulous moments either in real life or in the blogosphere.
3. Name five things you love.
4. Name five things you hate.
5. Pass the ribbon on to five other bloggers – I can never choose with things like this, so if you want to do the award, feel free!

Five fabulous moments

1.      The moment I finished my first ever novel draft. It was two in the morning and I was crying with pride. That’s when I knew I wanted to be a writer
2.      Waking up to see a large boost in page views. Even if people don’t comment, it’s lovely to see people visiting Between The Grey!
3.      Hopefully a future fabulous moment – receiving my A level grades in August and finding out I’m going to university
4.      Finding out my close friend was a writer too. It’s so nice to be able to go to somebody with my writer qualms, and know they understand
5.      Watching the kids I teach achieve their goals, and knowing that it was me who helped them get there. They continue to make me proud!

Five things I love 

1.      Karate. I’m actually a black belt in karate, and I’ve been doing it for over seven years, so this is definitely on my list!
2.      Writing (obviously)
3.      Reading (perhaps more obviously since I just wrote an entire post about reading)
4.      Sketching, even if I’m not very good by anyone’s standards
5.      Going on holiday. It’s so nice to get away and have a chance to clear your head for a few days 

Five things I hate

1.      I have to agree with Bonnee – spiders are awful!
2.      Writers’ block: the foe of all writers
3.      When I’m looking forward to something and it doesn’t meet my expectations, or if it doesn’t go to plan
4.      Being late. I get so panicked and flustered when I’m late, but thankfully it doesn’t happen often
5.      People being rude or having bad manners. It really grates on my nerves!


  1. I really do find some of the classics quite tedious. I read Emma by Jane Austen earlier in the year for my literature class and it was horrid. On another note, I guess there are a few that I have found instantly gratifying, namely Anne of Green Gables by L.M Montgomery. I couldn't put it down! But a few years earlier I'd tried reading Wuthering Heights and didn't get past the first page. I had to study that for literature later too, and it took me ages to get into it, but I eventually did...

    I really do prefer books that grab me instantly when I start reading and I think a lot of classics just don't do that. It's a shame that kids are finding more excuses not to read though... I remember hating the task as a kid, but that was mostly because I never got given the right story...

    Being late makes me so frustrated, especially at my mum, because I'm only ever late to something with her, while she refuses to be late for anything that SHE'S doing. Aah mother-daughter relationships...

    1. I have to agree, I tried to read Jane Eyre by Jane Austen and I got a quarter of the way through and gave up. I felt like nothing at all was happening, and it seemed so ridiculously tedious... I just couldn't do it. I haven't read Anne of Green Gables, but it is something I would like to read. I was exactly the same with Wuthering Heights! My friend who lent it to me said it was good, but it really didn't appeal to me so I put it down.

      I agree. I can read up to a certain point, but if a book isn't grabbing me, and it's not something I have to read as part of my course, then I'll probably put it down. I think all kids end up going through a stage where they don't like reading. I don't know why. But it is sad that children are finding less and less excuses to read.

      My sister is like that, I'm the punctual one, she's the late one, unless it's something that she's doing!

    2. Wow, you REALLY mustn't have liked Jane Eyre if you think it's by Jane Austen. That was by Charlotte Bronte (related to Emily Bronte, who wrote Wuthering Heights). I'm not too keen to read it either... :p Seen the movie, it sucked.

    3. I didn't even notice that! This is why you shouldn't reply to comments whilst simultaneously trying to watch a TV programme! I haven't seen the movie, and I really don't plan to. But I suppose at least that would be less arduous than actually reading Jane Eyre!