Future of Literary Culture

The Future of Literary Culture
by Harold Augenbraum

So will kids who have been brought up on Facebook, Google, Amazon, Narrative, and Fandango stop reading? I hope not. What will be interesting is to see how literature itself changes as that generation comes of age and begins to write its literary work, where it will get its book recommendations, and, perhaps most important, how will be participate in literary culture.

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Other nations still make reading a rather heavy part of their classroom curriculum, while the United States is falling much behind in this area (I remember being forced to read El Cid and the Chanson de Roland in high school, but it is nowhere in the modern curriculum, regardless of the fact that they are major works in the history of western civilization that is always being touted in the U.S. these days. I seriously doubt that Plato or Aristotle are part of the curriculum these days either, but in radical "Old Europe" they are required reading, and usually before college.

On the other hand there have been some technologies like Amazon's "Kindle" which radically alter the means by which books can be read. This takes the Sony E-Book one step further and allows access for the user to a free internet link though an Amazon cellualr phone network. One CAN purchase books directly over the internet and download them or simply read them directly online, but one can also access all of the free newspapers and magazines, as well as free Ebooks tyhrough Project Gutenberg and other sources.

So on the one hand, reading may seem to be diminishing, but new and novel technologies are making it possible to keep many, many books on a single device, with a screen that very closely resembles the black and white page of a book.

I have about a hundred books downloaded onto an SD card that I can read using my PDA. Its a little inconvenient, but I managed to work my way through a re read of El Cid as well as John Reed's "Ten Days that Shook the World"

Once these materials are presented in new forms, using new technologies, its quite possible that one might be able to hook those who didnt read before into reading. Depends on the approach.

Once the cost of devices like Kindle come down, they they will more than likely find a wider market. It will certainly be easier for school children to access books that are made part of their curriculum this way.

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