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Responding to People Who Don’t Read

phoenix concert

“Responding to People Who Don’t Readby Natasha Lioe was originally published on on June 25, 2017

Last week I had the amazing opportunity to see my all-time favorite band, Phoenix. It was my third time seeing them, and they were amazing, as always. The show feels intimate and universal at the same time, and they sound even better live. Truly talented. Music accomplishes something only music can.

We are firm believers in absorbing as much culture as possible. We know that there are many people who do not read books for fun. It’s become the norm, and reading has become a niche hobby. But for us avid readers, it seems strangely disconnecting to realize that the average person does not read—and getting people to read has become our greatest purpose. I’ve talked with many different non-readers, and many of them talk of how they prefer to watch a movie rather than waste time reading a book, but why can’t we do both?

Why can’t we consume all forms of art? Do we have to choose just one? I have friends who watch movies, friends who listen to music, friends who watch TV, then friends who read books. Somehow, they all feel disconnected. It does not feel like a complete culture. But each medium has something unique to offer its audience.

Watch La La Land and be amazed at the cinematography, costume design, the flawless melding of video and audio. La La Land was so great because it was perfect in its own form. Community, the TV show, was offbeat, strange, meta, and hilarious and held its own for six seasons (still waiting for the movie). It took full advantage of the episodic nature of television. Fahrenheit 451 is legendary for so many reasons, but as a movie, it would be more than ironic. I know there has been a movie made, many decades ago. Fahrenheit 451 is a book about burning books, and when you decide to read it, you are in effect joining Bradbury’s reading revolution. Reading Fahrenheit 451 gives you a sense of pride; watching it leaves you feeling guilty.

So watch that movie. Binge that TV show. Laugh with your friends. Tag your friend @m who owes you tacos. But come home, and read a book, too. If you neglect an entire medium of art, you neglect an entire culture.