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The most reading nation

A couple of decades ago Soviet people were regarded as the most reading all over the world. Inexorable statistics confirmed this fact. Frankly speaking, that was true: in parks, underground stations or buses one could come across people reading newspapers, books and magazines. The book used to be a precious object providing information and cherishing imagination and thoughts of wonderful future or past. Surely, not all works of art were sold in Soviet bookshops; many didnt happen to pass the censor and were distributed secretly and illegally. To own a rare book meant much then, that is why almost every family tried to collect a home library (classic literature prevailed on shelves). A narrow range of choice made people profoundly study the problems offered by not numerous authors allowed for publication. I still remember the scientific almanac Eureka! full of remarkable ideas and discoveries on space, medicine, engineering, etc. This book inculcated love for science and developed mind abilities.

However, good taste for books seems to disappear nowadays. Supposedly, you will find readers in transport, but books they are not the same. Common people willing to while away the time in a bus or a train read detectives or love novels, which cant be referred to belles-lettres literature. Complicated novels or poems are not in favour, pushed in the back of bookcases. Although, some people believe their time will come.

Philosophical works receded into the background, since incredibly fast life tempo leaves no opportunity to stop and think. To my mind, this is one of the most obvious reasons, why e.g. science fiction has lately been replaced with light fantasy books. As for teenagers, you can hardly find one, who reads for pleasure. They are so obsessed with computers, cell phones, online games, that books inevitably lose the battle with modern technologies. Teenagers think reading is boring, especially as school teachers make them concentrate on classics, which is not easy to understand. Moreover, Russian classic literature studied at high school very often kills the desire to read. I will never forget the time before school final examinations, when I had to read Crime and punishment, write down important quotations and look through critique to the book within two days. Since then Ive hated Dostoevsky and dont think will ever read another book by him.

Nevertheless, despite all problems the modern life throws into us, we still read. Bookshops are always crowded: some people look for bestsellers, but there are those, who try to find a rare book, the book that can arouse thoughts and teach.

January 19, 2007 16:24





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