Books vs Other Media
One message that seems to have been constantly drilled into me growing up is that I should read more.
'Reading is fantastic and much better than watching films, TV programmes and video games', they said.
Being younger back then, I instantly believed that to be true and felt guilty that I did not read as much as I should.
Now that I'm a bit older, I know what it's like to read a good book, as well as to watch a an addictive program, a beautifully written film and to play a gripping video game.
I've been entertained, educated and enlightened by all.
So why do books get so much more encouragement than other forms of media?
This is a genuine question that I'm putting to the readers of this article. Just for the record though, I have nothing against books or those who read them. I think they're great. What I have an issue with is the argument that books are somehow better than other media forms.
Here are some of the arguments which I have heard before about this:
'People who read are smarter than those who don't read.'
In part, this argument is true. If a person reads a textbook, then yes, chances are they will learn, or if a novel has factual events then they may learn that way.
But does this mean that they can't learn through other media?
- The video game 'Civilization' teaches history, scientific advancements and ancient civilizations
- The popular game 'Assassin's Creed' also has some historical facts
- A video from the science website TED released a video of a seminar of how children who play first person shooters, like 'Call of Duty' and 'Halo' have better cognitive skills than the average child who doesn't
'Books are part of our culture.'
True, Charles Dickens and Beethoven are part of our culture. But what is considered 'culture' today was just what was popular back then.
In a hundred years, the recent(ish) film The King's Speech may be considered culture.
'Books are portable, you can take them anywhere.'
So are PSPs and MP3 players.
'Books fire up your imagination.'
True, transferring words on a page to pictures on our mind requires imagination. But so do puzzle games, such as 'Portal 2'. We need to imagine a solution to a puzzle before we try it or to play out a strategy before carrying it out in 'Rome: Total War'.
So that's all I can think of. If you are a big fan of reading and you have some reasons why you think reading is better than films, video games, theatre etc, please comment below.