Books are not only essential in developing imagination, but also communication. In Alexandria, Romania, it seems that people do not have the time to read. As Frank Zappa said, so many books, so little time, although in this city it is not about having many books on stand by but it's about not making time to read a few pages. According to my findings, some people did not have the time since 6 years ago or even 1976.
While I was working as a columnist for the Ziarul Teleormanul in Alexandria, Romania, I noticed that no one in the press discusses this subject. I was quite nervous myself when I went out there to find people to talk to because "reading" is not the hottest topic. For example, some people laughed at me hearing the first question "When was the last time you read a book?". Therefore, after collecting all the data, I went to the Library of Alexandria to talk to an expert about the current situation in Alexandria.
The article below is the English version (translated by me) of the Romanian article that I wrote on this topic. At the end of it, there is the original version as well.
How much more do people from Alexandria read?
Surprisingly, although in recent years technology has advanced considerably, people between the ages of 10 and 25 prefer the classic way of reading, specifically the paper format. One of the reasons for this preference resolutely expressed by the participants is the better focus on the action, which provides a "special" experience.
A 19-year-old teenager explains:
"It transposes you better and I think the fact that you turn the page adds something to the experience", noting that, at the moment, she only reads history books to prepare for admission to the Police Academy. She believes that the main reason people don't read is the lack of time, "everybody's very busy, you know what it's like with this very hectic lifestyle, there is no more culture, and all this combined is the reason why the world no longer reads".
Also, in this category, there are over four people who have mentioned that the necessary books for understanding the baccalaureate subject were the last read.
A 17-year-old girl claims that the phone is distracting her when she tries to read in the electronic format and because of this she no longer reads at all and prefers to watch movies because "it's the same anyway", while an 11-year-old girl is extremely excited to read as quickly as possible the "mystery books that my grandmother bought me".
As for the participants in the 25-35 age category, half of them prefer the classic format, while the others prefer the electronic format, only because it is much more "accessible, although it distracts you", says a 28-year-old woman who read 50 Shadows of Grey 3 months ago.
Most of them don't remember the last book they read, putting the reason on the lack of time, because "the problem is that you leave home at 6 and come back at 6 p.m.", says a 29-year-old man, who read the novel Creanga de Aur in the last year of high school.
Although his wife, 25 years old, reads Cele 100 de reguli ale educarii copilului because they want to start this chapter in their lives and wants to be informed.
The rest of the participants say that the reasons why they do not read are based on the "extremely expensive" price of a book, the expensive living in this country and the advancement of technology that "fools us". Most of the participants between the ages of 35 and 50 are those who prefer both reading formats, but there are also those who have said that
"I read, but I do not remember what the last book was called".
The period during which they took the time to read ranges from 6 months to 6 years.
All the participants in the last age group prefer the classic way to read a book. They are also the ones who have discussed as much as possible about the titles they have read, compared to the others.
A 77-year-old woman claims that
the “important thing is for people to read; the way matters less. I still read newspapers, but only the headlines because I don't really see it anymore. I was a teacher and then it was the last time I really read, but my husband reads daily. I think people don't have the money to buy books".
A 70-year-old man claims that he really likes to read, doing so 14 days ago, when he re-read Viata la tara by Duiliu Zamfirescu. Another man, also of the same age, reads "very often", saying that he had just finished reading the Bible two weeks ago, while another 65-year-old participant read Ultima noapte de dragoste, intaia noapte de razboi in 1976.
As for the ladies, a 65-year-old woman says that she has just ordered seven books, whose author is Dr. Vasi Radulescu, being much more attracted to specialized books.
As for why most people stop reading books, these participants believe that the main cause is "buttoning the phone all day".
Given these results, it can be concluded that many people discuss books, but not all of them read. Therefore, discussing with Sorin Rizeanu, both a member of the Mihai Morar Association in Teleorman since the beginning of its establishment and the coordinator of the Library of Alexandria in the present, it seems that he has a different opinion:
"I would say that regarding Alexandria’s people, maybe 10-20% of them constantly read, and, given that we are talking about a large city, that would mean several thousand people (...). The bookstore is doing well, we sell books; over 50-100 books are sold monthly. Although at first, we were told that it was not going to work, the people from all age groups read a lot. It's surprising how many kids read a lot in this city".
Also on this subject, he says impressed that
"I was talking to a little boy, he was about 12-13 years old, and he came with his grandfather, and every Sunday he bought another book and I think he read it because he came again and bought another one. You realize it's great for this kid because that's how the brain develops. It grows much better than if they watch TV or a movie. When you see a movie, you already see what the actor looks like, the scene, and so on. When you read a book, it just gives you some clues and that's when your brain works and creates the image of the character and the frame. The brain works great when you read books, which is why it's also so recommended".