I have some questions for you that I've been struggling with for over a year now. This image that I just purchased on Etsy is helping me turn these questions into a blog post. In fact, there are many images similar to this particular orphan image for sale. It shows the value of reading - A value that some people don't have.
Perhaps their families never had this value to pass on. Perhaps they've lost it. Perhaps society no longer conveys the importance of reading...
I have so many questions, but first...
I remember the day that this was taken. I am the little girl in red. The professional photographer, who came to our home once a year (before my Mom found Sears Portrait Studio) asked me if I had a book. I ran to our library pile. The man had set up the coffee table with a blanket for us to sit on and his background screen behind it. He sat me with my sister and posed us. Each of us had a hand on the book. Kids reading - Isn't that cute? Isn't that a traditional American value that every family must capture?
This is the 1970s. The photo I just bought is the 1940s. We have decades of valuing reading.
Than there is my third photo from 2014. I have a young friend whom I meet with my daughter at Barnes and Noble on a fairly regular basis. She is fresh out of college and she thinks that a bookstore is a spectacular place to spend her time. She made me this gift for the holidays. She knows that this is perfect for me, but this is also a sentiment that she takes to heart. And, let me re-emphasize that she MADE this. There is something about hand-made items and appreciation of the book that go hand-in-hand in my mind.
So here are my questions...I hope that you have some ideas for me:
- Do people read as much as they once did?
- Do we still value reading?
- How do we keep a society that values reading or how do we re-capture it if we've lost it? (Have we lost it?)
- Does online activity keep us from "reading" or do we consider what we do online "reading"?
- Should we consider browsing the Internet "reading"?
- Does it matter if we read a linear book versus non-linear Internet pages. And on that note, does it matter if we read a Kindle versus a paper book.
I am not the first to ask any of these questions. Yet, seeing posed images of people reading provides a slightly different angle. We value(d) reading enough to very consciously pose with books. Will these types of images soon be gone?