Cultural relevance in reading: The return of recreational reading in a technologically influenced society

Tempis Askew | Staff Writer

Invented with the intention to revolutionize the world, technology has become a part of everyday life. With connectivity, productivity and convenience being three of the greatest uses for technology, it seems traditional forms of communication, research and leisure activity have nearly become obsolete.

Research has shown that millennials have relied so much on technology that book sales have dramatically decreased within the last t10 years. New findings suggest that younger generations have a heightened interest in physical print materials. The sales of electronic books, digital electronic reader downloads and audiobooks have declined since 2015.

Why the sudden decline in technological literature and digital media? “Technology is convenient, but it can be quite a distraction,” said Erika Newton, a 2017 Old Dominion University graduate. “As a psychology major, my courses required extensive research that I did not want tainted by in-app advertisements, the distraction of social media or digital entertainment such as music or games.”

Additionally, leisure reading has resurfaced as one of the most popular millennial pastimes.

“Reading is one of the things I like to reward myself with after a long day of classes and work,” said Madeleine Stokes, a third-year recreational therapy major. Having recently completed The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander, Stokes has acquired a new perception of the world around her.

Studies show readers tend to gravitate toward literature that resonates with personal experiences, beliefs and goals. In recent years, more pop culture influencers have given insight to their personal lives by way of penning books.

Tiffany Haddish, a comedienne most recently known from the box office hit Girls Trip, released a book entitled The Last Black Unicorn that illustrates her personal struggles with illiteracy, confidence and familial matters.

The critically acclaimed 2017 release sparked an interest in a new generation of readers as Haddish is culturally relevant in entertainment.

“Authors who write from personal, yet unfavorable experiences ignite feelings of humility, gratitude and inspiration within me,” Stokes said.


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