One type of media we⏤ or at least I⏤ haven’t talked about in length this semester is books. Back in January, we all subscribed to Wired and a daily newspaper of our choice. For me this is the Wall Street Journal. And I must say, I’ve loved getting my newspaper delivered to my doorstep every morning.
But just like the fields of music, live TV, and shopping (to name a few), I would argue that the digital is having an affect on reading trends nation- and perhaps worldwide. I found a few neat Pew studies documenting trends in reading after the advent of things like the Amazon Kindle. A 2015 study found that “Slightly fewer Americans are reading print books.”
Given that I’m a huge book-lover (and a proud Kindle-owner), I always find studies like this so disheartening. I think everyone should read, and as often as possible.
Which brings me to the focus of this post: Junot Díaz’s April 12 visit and lecture at Emory. The Dominican Republic-born and New Jersey-raised Díaz is a world-class author… a Pulitzer prize winner to be more specific. It made me so happy that the Schwartz Center was packed with people⏤ both young and old⏤ who came to hear him speak.
Díaz began with a brief speech before diving into audience questions for the majority of the event. He talked of xenophobia, “the Wall,” racism, freedom, and history. All the while, everyone around me remained totally engaged in his words. I must just be accustomed to the always-on world of 2017 because this felt like a treat.
It also had me wondering about how and why Junot has achieved this fame and captured the legit undivided attention of his audience. Is it because he writes in a way that works with our fast-paced, fleeting way of life? Or maybe the issues he writes about are high priority. Either way, he owned it.
Props to Emory for making this happen!