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.

Passion into profit: The emergence of the female entrepreneur

Tempis Askew | Staff Writer

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Tempis Askew

Madame C.J. Walker, Sheila Johnson and Oprah Winfrey are female entrepreneurs who have contributed to the success of one demographic of the 21st century: the black female entrepreneur.

Now more than ever, women of color are turning hobbies, skills and talents into lucrative careers that have granted them entrepreneurial awareness, economic growth and financial profitability.

Aryn Dixon, an Old Dominion University senior, has taken her passion for arts and crafts and turned it into a lucrative business that has built clientele throughout the Hampton Roads area.

Dixon was asked to customize bottles with glitter and rhinestones for a birthday party. This request quickly turned from a favor into a business venture.

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Tempis Askew

Dixon’s business, Bottle Beauties, launched in 2017 as a remote mobile service that customized collectibles such as cups, bottles and glassware. The personalized touch added to each custom piece quickly became a desirable accent that contributed to the growth and success of Bottle Beauties. As clientele quickly grew, the demand for custom products heightened and the requests for additional custom products expanded.

Now offering custom T-shirts, personalized home décor items and embellished ornaments, Bottle Beauties has turned a hobby into a branded business for Dixon. With an expanding social media presence, Dixon can be found on Instagram at @bottlebeautiesva.

She is currently planning a pop-up shop event with Verge & Vintage Web Boutique to showcase the new custom additions that will be added to the expansion of her brand.

Verge & Vintage Web boutique is an online-based women’s retail hub that showcases denim, shoes and cosmetics. It was created with the vision of offering trendy yet affordable fashion to the masses. All products sold at the boutique are under $50 — perfect for college students on a budget.

Verge & Vintage Web Boutique will launch online April 1 online at vergeandvintage.com. Collectively, Dixon of Bottle Beauties and Askew of Verge & Vintage will partner in various pop-up shops and vendorships throughout Hampton Roads during the late spring and early summer.