books, The Culture Tag

The Big Book Debate



The whole reason why people choose to read is because they ENJOY READING. Bit of a silly point to make, but it’s true. You tend to pick books up in Waterstones or buy on Amazon through recommendation from friends and family, because the plot summary featured on the blurb looks interesting or, now more than ever, BECAUSE EVERYONE ELSE IS SO HYPED ABOUT IT. In the past few years, I’ve heard people chatting on the bus on the way to work about how far they’ve got through Girl on the Train and seen plenty of Instagram posts featuring sausage-leg-selfie-taking girls and their copies of Me Before You on ‘holibobs’.

At the end of the day, who WOULD read something that didn’t appeal to them for whatever purpose? There is no logic in that surely?

When I was little, my Mum without fail used to make me and my two brothers sign up for the reading challenge at the library. We had an EXTENSIVE book collection at home because if we wanted a book, we were always bought it. We were always praised for our reading abilities because Dad always used to find the time to hear about Harry, Ron and Hermione taking on a three headed dog or Alex Ryder’s newest spy mission.

Yet, now that we’re older, none of us are avid readers! Not even me, and I’m doing an English Literature degree. Its bad.

I don’t know if it’s because people would ‘rather watch the film’ these days or if the task of reading a hard copy book just seems like something that people in the 60’s did because they didn’t have computers to keep them entertained. Maybe it’s just a hobby to get into when you’re a bit older and your diary is less hectic – I’m not sure. Reading, I personally think, is seen widely now as boring and outdated.

But I also think that this is because people have forgotten what reading is all about. It causes you to think; in a way a film never could. Educate you on things such as mental health and personal situations by putting you in the shoes of the struggling protagonist. Use your imagination to envision settings and people’s clothes and facial features. Transport you to different parts of the world, near and far, to experience different cultures and ways of life that you may never get to see otherwise.

It’s sad people lose sight of that. It’s sad that I’ve lost sight of that.

So, I’m making a change.

To fit in with my new project, The Culture Tag, I’ll be reading a book that I found on Amazon which has received a high rating online called The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick. It’s a book that if I saw in a shop, I’d probably pick up because the front cover looks pretty (I know, so trivial) but most importantly, a book that would not be seen as ‘literary’ on first glance.

I’ll be comparing this with another text, or should I say, script, that would be considered very culturally valuable indeed – Romeo and Juliet. You can’t get more literary than Shakespeare, surely!

Through research, I think I’ve also found a book that is somewhat ‘middle ground’ – it’s called Mad Girl and is written by Bryony Gordon- a Telegraph columnist. This book also received a fab reception on publication and “no. 1 bestseller” are printed boldy on the top of my copy to let you know just how many people loved it before you even turn to the first page. It’s clearly part of today’s popular culture in raising awareness of mental health issues, from what I can tell with a quick glance at the blurb, it’s classed as a non-fiction text and written from a very honest viewpoint of the Author herself – exploiting the truths of her experiences with eating disorders and OCD.

It’s important to note that I’ll be seeing how enjoyable they are to read in 2017 and what I’ve gained from them as a person, if anything.

Keep an eye out for my follow-up post once I’ve read the books!

Tilly Turnip xox