One of our heads of social media, Emma Ames, tackles the view that millennials aren’t well-read or cultured.
Millennials don’t read?! Someone should have let me know…
I saw a headline whilst scrolling through twitter that caught my eye: “What is millennial culture? There’s no writing. None of them read books”. The statement came from American Psycho author, Bret Easton Ellis. Now, I HAVE read American Psycho. How ironic, I know. What was the point you were trying to make again, Bret? This man is an excellent writer. He is someone who should be an icon to hopeful writers.
Before I start ragging on a no-longer relevant author who is probably just shouting for another second in the spotlight, I’m going to let you know that I did not read the article. I didn’t want to ruin my Easter Sunday and I didn’t really care about what he had to say. I know enough from the title alone. Instead of giving into something that is obviously a meaningless attack on an entire generation of people, I thought I would actually think about what this headline says.
Do millennials read? Can our generation be good writers if we don’t read? I can honestly say I probably read about a book a week. I’m an English student: it’s kind of in my blood, so to speak. But do I always enjoy what I read? No, not really.
Our generation was always told to read the GREATS. Books like Pride and Prejudice, Black Beauty, Great Expectations, all of the Shakespeare, Dracula, blah blah blah. I’ve read all of these. Did I really enjoy them? Honestly, no. I felt satisfied that I finished them, that I could say I read them, but I didn’t love them. I appreciate them, I understand why they are GREAT, but I did not love them. The last few books I read that I loved: These Dividing Walls by Fran Cooper, Circe by Madeline Miller, Murphy by Samuel Beckett.
Really, these are fabulous books; I highly recommend you read them. Books I’m looking forward to reading: The Toy Makers by Robert Dinsdale, The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, The Book of Hidden Things by Francesso Dimitri. The list is long. So, if I have a list in my phone of books I can’t wait to read, how is Ellis’ short-sighted comment true? I also want to be a writer. Maybe I’m just on a mission to prove this man wrong. I’m such a millennial.
I’m kind of obsessed with Twitter. The reason why is because there are so many statements, ideas and arguments put eloquently or hilariously in the challenging limit of 140 characters that I could read for days and be highly entertained. There are threads that are so brilliantly written, I become passionate over a topic I didn’t even know about, or cry with laughter over an interaction between two people I didn’t even witness.
We are reading, every day, every minute, we are reading. We are learning and absorbing words. We do not have to have a history of books we have read. This idea that to be a writer you have to read colossal novels like Eragon or Little Women is outdated. You know, like the guy who said it in the first place.
We are all writers. We are breaking that small traditional box that writers and authors have been put into by reading what we want to read, not what people think we have to read. Life is too short to think you can’t write when you can, and life is too short to read books that you don’t want to read.
Millennials read: but it shouldn’t be considered a chore we have to do. Like laundry.
Featured image by: Omeiza Haruna