Survival of the Fittest

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Lately, in the past decade, there has been a surge of movies based on books especially children/young adult fiction books. Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Twilight, Chronicle of Narnia, The Polar Express have all not just been movies adapted from books but have been highly successful in terms of revenue collection.

This brings us to two important questions –

Why read a book when you can watch it as a movie?

 

Can watching movies increase the determination in youngsters to read books?

These are two questions that are quite contradictory and yet go hand in hand. There are statements and arguments on both sides where some could argue that teenagers are more fascinated with the visual material than literary but many also believe that movies are the building block for reading books. On one hand, the book-based movie provides reinforcements for a struggling reader as it enhances the reading experience and allows the reader to visually connect with the words, allowing them to make necessary connections and help them comprehend what they normally wouldn’t be able to due to the low reading comprehension skills. But on the other hand, for an avid reader, the movie adaptation ruins the imagination and makes the reading experience uninteresting which contributes to the failure of having a deep attention span when reading that book. The risk factor involved in a movie adaption is also high as it could potentially damage the even slightest inclination for people to read the book if that movie turns out to be bad because it was poorly adapted from the book.

Let’s look at the stats.

In 2001, NPD Funworld found that seventy-nine percent of children ages 6-17, and seventy-one percent of adults who have read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone planned on seeing the first Harry Potter movie (NPD). It is evident and quite logical that the majority of children and adults who have read books will definitely go and watch the movie adaption. But the question lies in whether these movies can make readers out of students that are reluctant to read. According to the book sales figures, children’s book-based movies bring interest to the books upon which they are based. The Polar Express normally sells approximately 200,000 copies every winter holiday season, but the movie release in November 2004 led to three million copies sold during the 2004 holiday season. Natalie Babbitt’s Tuck Everlasting also sold more than six times more the year it appeared on the big screen. If one were to look at just the book sales it would appear that book-based movies do generate an interest in the books.

The notion that movie adaptations are bad for the reading culture is debatable, where it might influence the audience’s preference for choosing the medium to digest the story, however, it also opens up the possibility and curiosity among viewers to explore more in depth narration and characters through books.

Tell us your favorite movie adaptation in the comments below.

Also get involved by encouraging children and offer words of wisdom on social media, use the hashtag #risethroughreading.

-Paras Agarwal

Something is Missing

What is missing in these pictures?

 

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A couple of kids, in their bedroom, fully engaged with a tablet.

 

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People sitting on an Aeroplane with their own tapes while some dozed off and others stare at a small movie screen.

 

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Family members with their smartphones on a dinner table.

 

 

What is missing from these pictures, and increasingly from our lives is the activity through which we learned the most of what we know of the world. What’s missing is the knowledge and information that forms our patterns of thought. What’s missing is the absolute factor that progresses the underlying growth and development of the young.

Now that importance of culture is established. We need the reading more than ever. Instead of asking others what they have read lately, people nowadays assume that nobody gets much time to read books. How did this come to happen?

Books the oldest form of print had been so prominent in our history that we could have hardly seen it coming but the problem does not lie with the publication since publishers are constantly churning out books (133,196 new titles listed in “Books in Print” in the past year) but on our change in the habit of reading. The modern-day readers read with the only goal and that is to gain a quick, conversation-enhancing topic as they try to skim through the words. The habit of reading rapidly has been a major factor in the decline of the traditional way of reading. Similarly, the newspaper that once was the morning ritual of every household has been affected significantly by the change. What’s more interesting is that young people are losing the newspaper habit even faster than their parents. “We are developing a generation that has no interest in reading except insofar as it is assigned in school,” concludes Daniel Kevles, professor of humanities at Caltech. There is a general lack of public affairs among the students.

The technological revolution is unstoppable but that does not mean the old order should fade away with it. Even though electronic media has taken over print media, we need to understand the intellectual and seriousness quotient it has on art, education, religion, politics and journalism. Reading is central to our culture. It is connected to virtually all the forces that shaped our culture. The question, as we leave the age of print for the uncharted waters of this new electronic age, is whether we risk losing much of what reading enabled us to gain.
Share your opinions and thoughts with us through comments or use the hashtag #risethroughreading on social media.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

-Paras Agarwal

Unveil the Magic of the Books

Books contain the power to transform you. It creates a shift in your mental state that illuminates every present brain cells to give you the ultimate gift. Sounds magical right? Yes. But in order to achieve this kind of tranquillity, one needs to understand and obey the fundamental law- ‘read to read’. The law states that to witness such a condition one needs to create an affection towards the habit of reading. The magic only works when you immerse yourself in a book, criticising and forming your own thoughts and opinion as you read while forging a relationship between yourself and the author.

For someone quite naive to such a notion, it is quite understandable that these arguments might sound illogical and flawed. Also for someone who has witnessed such an epiphany, but might not have come to terms with the underlying feelings or is quite reluctant or confused to put in words. Here is a list of unspoken benefits that might change your perspective on how you see reading and give you a profound insight on how you can change your life without moving a physical muscle.

Self-Knowledge: What would it feel like when you found a part of yourself? You may cry, smile or wince and just take a while to sink in the moment of self-realisation. When you read, and you find a piece of information that connects to you or speak to your soul – you feel enlightened. You feel like somehow the author has given you the one thing that you had been searching your whole life. The words written by unlikely stranger creates a bridge for you to meet the most important person in the world- yourself.

Empathy: When you invest your time in listening to someone’s thoughts, you create an empathy towards them. When you read, the book provides a portal for you to jump into the author’s mind and make you care enough to truly listen to their musings. Even if you don’t like their opinions, you exercise your mind to open up and understand their shortcomings and reasons behind them.

Humility: When you let go of your ego, you can truly open your eyes to see that there are things much bigger than you, there are people much smarter than you and you are just a tiny part of the giant universe. Reading books make you accept these facts, and open up a window of this universe for you to explore and engage.

Presence: The practice of mindfulness has been there for centuries and a lot of has been said regarding its benefits. Meditation is widely considered to be the way this practice can be cultivated, but it is not the only way. When you dig into a book that has caught your attention, time ceases to exist, your attention span increases tenfold and the only thing that matters to you in that moment are the words written on that book. Your worry, fears and anguished gets boxed away into a container labelled ‘for later’ and the only worry you have is to flip to the next page.

Joy: If anything has to stick, it needs to be enjoyable. The act of doing anything that is boring and blatant should be stopped. Reading can be tiresome and dull, only when it’s challenging or your interest does not match with the book’s content. Read books that jog up your brain and ignite a sense of enjoyment. When you do this, the joy that comes with it has no bounds. Read what enriches you and your life will be changed because of it.

The power is real. You just need to dive right into it.

If you are one of those people, that have been struck by the magical prowess of reading books, we would like you to share your stories and encourage fellow beings especially young people to enter the book realm and show them that the magic of books is real. Use the hashtag #risethroughreading on social media to voice your thoughts and follow our other social media accounts for more content.

                                 -Paras Agarwal

Today a reader, tomorrow a leader

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.”
― George R.R. Martin

Wouldn’t it be fascinating to live several lives within one lifetime?
But, the question is how do you do that? Simply pick up a book, cosy up and start reading.

If you look at all the successful people in the world, you would notice one common pattern. They have all lived several lives within their lifetime and gathered information and knowledge which they applied in their real lives to become who they are today. Warren Buffet was once asked about the key to success, he pointed out to a stack of nearby books and said “Read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.” And he isn’t alone, there are many top business leaders and entrepreneurs who have made reading a major part of their daily lives.

These tech giants, media moguls and successful people believe that books are a gateway to learning and knowledge. Even though some of them dropped out of college but they never stopped learning. Books helped them filled the void and turned them into an individual that they are today.

If reading this blog post doesn’t motivate you to pick up a book, then you need to follow more of our accounts for a bigger dose of encouragement. But if does give you a hint of incentive, follow us on Facebook and Twitter to share us your insights and your words of encouragement.

Looking forward to hearing from you readers!

– Paras Agarwal

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