Why our future depends on reading

Great article in writer Neil Gaiman about the nature and benefits of reading. It's not just foggy thinking, and very clear and consistent evidence of the seemingly obvious things.

If you have friends and mathematicians who ask you why to read fiction, give them the text. If you have friends that convince you that soon all books will be electronic, give them the text. If you fondly (or Vice versa with horror) I remember trips to the library, read this text. If you have older children, read to them this text, but if you just think about that and how to read with children especially read this text.



It's important for people to explain on whose side they are. A kind of Declaration of interest.

So I'm going to talk to you about reading and that the reading of literature and reading for pleasure is one of the most important things in a person's life.

And I'm obviously very much biased, because I'm a writer, author of literary texts. I write both for children and for adults. For nearly 30 years, I earn my living with words, mostly making things and writing them down. Certainly I'm interested that people read, so people read fiction to libraries and librarians existed and contributed to a love of reading and to the existence of great places to read. So I'm biased as a writer. But I am much more biased as a reader.

One time I was in new York and heard a talk about the construction of private prisons is a rapidly growing industry in America. The prison industry needs to plan its future growth – how many cameras do they need? What is the number of inmates in 15 years? And they found that can predict all of this very easily using a simple algorithm based on surveys, what percentage of 10 and 11-year-old can't read. And, of course, can't read for pleasure.

There is direct relationship, not to say that in educated society is crime free. But the relationship between the factors is visible. I think that the most simple of these links come from is obvious:

Literate people read fiction.From literature there are two purposes:

• First, it gives you dependency on reading. The thirst to know what happens next, the desire to turn the page, the need to continue, even if it is hard, because someone got in trouble, and you need to find out how it all will end... in this real drive. It makes you learn new words, to think differently, to continue to move forward. To discover that reading itself is a pleasure. Once realizing this, you are on your way to a constant reading.

• A simple method guaranteed to raise literate children is to teach them to read and show that reading is a fun pastime. The simplest way find books that they like, give them access and allow them to read.

  • There are no bad authors for children, if children want to read them and looking for their books, because all children are different. They find they need stories, and they enter into these stories. Beaten a well-worn idea is not beaten and worn out to them. After all, the child opens it first for myself. Not obrashaite children from reading just because you feel like they're reading the wrong things. Literature which you do not like, is the way to books that may be of your liking. And not at all the same with you taste.

• And the second thing that makes fiction – it creates empathy. When you are watching a TV show or movie, you look at things that happen to other people. Fiction is something you make from 33 letters and a handful of punctuation marks, and you, you alone, using your imagination, create a world, inhabit it and look around through the eyes of strangers. You start to feel things, visit places and worlds you would not know. You will learn that the outside world is also you. You become someone else, and when you return to your world, something in you will change a little bit.

Empathy is the tool that brings people together and allows you not to behave like narcissistic loners.
You will also find in the books something vital to existence in this world. And here it is: the world does not have to be that way. Things can change.

In 2007 I was in China, at the first endorsed by the party Convention for science fiction and fantasy. At some point I asked the official representative of the government: why? Because NF is not frowned upon for a long time. What has changed?

Everything is simple, he told me. The Chinese have created great things, if they are brought scheme. But they did not improve and did not invent themselves. They didn't invent. And so they sent a delegation to the US, to Apple, Microsoft, Google, and asked the people who invented the future, about themselves. And found that they had read science fiction when they were boys and girls.

Literature can show you another world. She can take you to where you've never been. Once visiting other worlds, as those who have tasted the magical fruit, you can never be fully satisfied with the world in which I grew up. Discontent is a good thing. Disgruntled people can change and improve their worlds, to make them better, make them different.

A sure way to destroy a child's love of reading is, of course, to make sure that next to no books. And there are no places where children could read them. I was lucky. When I was growing up, I had a great regional library. I had parents who could be persuaded to take me to the library on the way to work during the holidays.

The library is freedom. Freedom to read, freedom to communicate. This education (which is not the end of the day when we leave school or University), it's leisure, it is shelter and access to information.

I think it's all about the nature of the information. Information has value, and the correct information is invaluable. Throughout human history, we lived in the days of ignorance. To obtain the needed information was always important, and always worth something. When to plant crops, where to find things, maps, history and stories is something that has always been valued for food and in companies. Information was a valuable thing, and those who possess it or have lived it, could count on a reward.

In recent years we have moved away from a lack of information and came to the glut of it. According to Eric Schmidt of Google, now every two days the human race creates as much information as we have produced from the beginning of our civilization up to 2003. It's something about five exabytes per day, if you love numbers. Now the challenge is not how to find a rare flower in the desert, and to locate a specific plant in the jungle. We need help to navigate, to find among this information that we really need.

The book is a way to communicate with the dead. It is a way to learn from those who are no longer with us. Mankind has created itself, evolved, gave rise to a type of knowledge that can be developed, but not always to remember. There are tales that are older than many countries, stories that survived of culture and the wall in which they were first told.

If you do not value libraries then you do not value information or culture wisdom. You drown out the voices of the past and future harm.

Should we read aloud to our children. Read to them something that made them happy. Read them stories that we are tired. To speak in different voices, to motivate them and not to stop reading just because they learned how to do it. To make reading aloud a moment, a time when no one is looking at phones when the temptations of the world aside.

We need to use the language. To develop, to learn the meaning of new words and how to use them, to communicate clearly, say what we mean. We should not attempt to freeze language, to pretend that it is a dead thing that must be honored. We must use the language as a living thing that moves, which bears the words, which allows their meanings and pronunciation change over time.

Writers – especially children's writers have obligations to readers. We need to write true things, especially important when we're writing stories about people that didn't exist, or places where there were not understand that truth is not what happened in fact, but what tells us who we are.

In the end, fiction is true lies, among other things. We should not bore our readers, but to do so, so they wanted to turn the next page. One of the best remedies for those who read reluctantly – a history from which they cannot break away.

We should be telling our readers the truth, to arm them, to give protection and to convey the wisdom that we had gleaned from our short stay in this green world. We must not preach, lecture, ready to shove the truth down the throats of our readers, as birds that feed their Chicks pre-chewed worms. And we must never, never ever, under any circumstances, to write for kids what we would not like to read themselves.

We all – adults and children, writers and readers – must be dreaming. We need to invent. It is easy to pretend that nobody can change that we live in a world where society, and the person is less than nothing, an atom in the wall, the grain in the rice field. But the truth is that individuals change the world again and again, the person creating the future, and they do it imagining that things can be different.

Take a look. I'm serious. Stop for a moment and look at the room in which you are. I want to show something so obvious that it's all been forgotten. Here it is: everything you see, including the walls, was at some point invented. Someone decided that it would be much easier to sit on a chair than on the ground, and came up with a chair. Someone had to think of a way that I could talk with all of you in London right now, without the risk of getting wet. This room and all things in it, all things in the building, in this city, exist because again and again people come up with something.

We need to make things beautiful. Don't make the world uglier than it was to us, not to empty the oceans, not to transfer our problems to future generations. We need to clean up after themselves and not leave our children in a world that we are so stupid ruined, robbed and mutilated.

One day albert Einstein was asked how we can make our children smarter. His answer was simple and wise. If you want your children to be intelligent, he said, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales. He understood the value of reading and imagination.

I hope that we can pass on to our children a world where they will read and they will read where they will imagine and understand. published

Author: Neil Gaiman

P. S. And remember, only by changing their consumption — together we change the world! ©

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