reading mania

Reading Mania

The scandalous Reading Mania

When books Cast their Spell on the World

reading mania

History Repeats Itself, this I believe. And let me tell you why.

In this world of social media staying away from it is like missing out on the latest news. Your interests might lie in any topic, social media is the best to get all the information as fast as possible. Newspapers and magazines always  seem to be an hour too late.

In this tech savvy world haven’t we all been in the situation when we have been warned- Social Media is bad, phones are bad, technology is bad. It’ll spoil your eyes, get you depressed, make you feel lonely and on and on. Yet these ‘harmful’ incidences are one in thousands, not seen everyday. These incidences are reports from the print media and this media is dying out. It makes one wonder, how much of these warnings are true?

This is not the first time big ‘influencers’ have used their powers to tell adult minds jargon against what their children are doing. The first of these cases started in the 17th century when influential law makers, thinkers decided that books were injurious to health.

After the moving printing press became a success, books began rolling out to commoners like bakery bread. Literacy became widespread and youngsters spent their time on a steady diet of books. Booksellers began using pedals to reach people in tiny villages. This was a sudden outbreak just like when Facebook became accessible to us back in 2008. Everyone wanted in on it; ready for the next book, ready to devour it, savour a good story and live in a world beyond the four walls of your house. Isn’t all of this familiar?

reading mania
Youngsters were drawn to books like children under the spell of Peter Pan

The need to follow adventurers on Instagram just to see their next trekking destination and those oh so lovely serene views, or just to follow those YouTubers to see what exciting things are happening in their lives most of whom live on the other side of the globe and not to mention Snapchat- stories about how someone spent their day is a direct window to live beyond your confinements.

Books acted like these gateways in the 17th century. Markets were stocked with horror books, mystery books, adventure books and most of all romance books. Now romance books were big on these people not because of the reasons we call them sloppy. Romance had a mysterious aura to it, it was secretive and almost forbidden. In real life youngsters were not allowed to second guess the companion chosen for them by their parents. Their spouses weren’t handsome and beautiful nor did they have adventures like in the novels. Personal lives were as dull as can be. There was no adventure, no opinion to be put forth or any scandals to talk about. And books gave you all of that.

This is when the reading mania began. Young ladies and gentlemen would buy books, exchange them and read as much as possible. They would begin the book in the morning as early as possible. Probably gobble down breakfast or eat while reading. They wouldn’t put the book down.

reading mania
Youngsters were enamoured by fictional stories that had the power to transport them to another world

One after the other they would read and read. The clueless parents got so scared that they finally approached doctors. As a collective term doctors began to call this phenomenon as ‘reading mania.’ Today we would call such people ‘voracious readers.’ So back in the day being a ‘voracious reader’ was considered a case of mania, something bad. So what would you say if someone told you to keep the phone aside and read a book?

Don’t get me started on what I should say every time someone jests me saying that I don’t read enough but spend time on the phone or laptop. Guess what- I am reading, we are all reading, we are all consuming content faster than you can say newspaper, we love warm news, we can’t wait 12 hours for the next newspaper to tell us yesterday’s story, even 1 hour is old, outdated. We love Twitter, we love our YouTube celebrities and we love our Instagrammers. Most of us even consider Facebook a platform for the old.

Reading Mania was one of the primitive type of way to let go and travel into the world. It was something that most youngsters could relate to. Times change and the ability to read more and more became an attribute to personality, a virtue. Do you think social media will be the same?

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This month we are celebrating books. Explore other related articles-

How the Printing Press Was Invented- http://giglee.in/movable-printing-press/

The Grand Library of Pergamum- http://giglee.in/library-of-pergamum/

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Picture Curtesy- Google Images

Post Author: Shanaya Wagh

2 thoughts on “Reading Mania

    Anagha

    (July 25, 2017 - 11:28 pm)

    I don’t enjoy social media myself but I have long suspected that the detrimental effects of it have been exaggerated. Also the parallels drawn between reading and social media are very interesting. I had no idea that there was something called reading mania…. It’s very interesting!!

      Shanaya Wagh

      (July 25, 2017 - 11:37 pm)

      I’m glad you liked it. Reading Mania was, according to me, a very hilarious time in history. I was thinking of putting out a blog for this incident as well. It goes like this: A book named ‘The Sorrows of Young Werther’ was released in the 18th Century. It was a love tragedy which ends in Werther, the main hero, suiciding for love. This story caught on so well that youngsters literally began suicing after reading this book!

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