In the era of fragmented reading, do you still read?


editorial comment/note

  April day on earth is the most beautiful time to study.

  On the occasion of World Reading Day on April 23rd, Beijing Youth Daily Daily Supplement published the third season of questionnaire, hoping that in the era of fragmented information, people would not give up paper reading. Under the trend of electronization, I still have a love for paper books.

  Different from the questionnaires of the previous two seasons, this season, seven old friends and senior book lovers of Daily Supplement, Shi Hang, Zheng Yuanjie, Xiao Fuxing, Tang Xiaobing, Fu Guangming, Li Dongjun and Yuan Yidan, were specially invited as the questioners. They integrated their thinking on reading into the topic, and in the high-quality questions and answers, readers could appreciate the joy and strength that reading brought to mankind.

  Reading is the investment behavior with the highest rate of return in the world. I hope this edition of the questionnaire can enlighten and moisten the hearts of every book lover.

  World Reading Day Album No.5

  Presenter: Li Dongjun (Professor, School of History, Nankai University)

  Respondent: Green tea (book reviewer, illustrator)

  Zhao Zongbiao (journalist, writer, woodcut artist)

  Yuanfang (founder of Caoying Reading Club)


  Do you think paper reading is a kind of cultural conservative reading?

  Green tea: A new form of reading is only available in recent decades. For thousands of years, human beings have kept paper reading, which seems to have become a part of human genes. Even if Internet reading and electronic reading are developed, and even video and audio are counted as forms of reading, people will not give up paper reading. Even in the little red book where young people gather, people love to bask in paper books. It can be seen that paper reading is still the most fashionable and elegant form of reading.

  Zhao Zongbiao: No. Technological progress changes people’s way of life. If Confucius lived in the present, he would also read e-books instead of bamboo slips. Because it is convenient.

  Distant: The word conservative is slightly derogatory in modern Chinese. But if we say that paper reading has become an outdated and outdated way of reading at present — — This sentence is radical, then I will definitely stand in the ranks of cultural conservatism.

  Traditional paper reading, whether reading books or reading newspapers, is my favorite spiritual home. Living in modern society, I can’t avoid reading at my fingertips and reading e-books, but paper reading is my private garden at night. As I get older, I, a gardener, will pay more attention to cleaning up weeds in the garden. I do this for myself and for the children who are destined to come in the future. This garden is not Disney, so it doesn’t need to be that big; It’s not a botanical garden, so it doesn’t need that much. Perhaps, this is what you call a manifestation of conservatism.


  Do you think paper reading is becoming a "tradition" and will be replaced by online browsing?

  Green tea: Paper reading has been a "tradition" for thousands of years, but the form of paper books has changed. China’s books have gone from the era of manuscripts to the era of engraving, and now to the era of foreign-made books, but the tradition of reading has not changed.

  Although internet reading has brought great impact, it seems that it cannot be completely replaced. The technological revolution only changes the media, but it can’t change the nature of reading. In the end, the Internet is also "content is king". Even if the most traditional ancient books are digitized, it will not change the enthusiasm of ancient book collectors for ancient books. Reading, collecting books and using books should go their separate ways in the Internet age.

  Zhao Zongbiao: Yes. One machine in hand, ten thousand copies. Paper books can’t be stored, reviewed and carried in such a convenient way.

  Distant place: From the phenomenon we observe every day, the update of technology will bring many life changes, but I am not worried that our books will quit the historical stage like the earlier bamboo slips and silk books, even though we have entered the era of mobile phone interconnection from the era of surfing on the Internet. On the contrary, I personally think that paper reading will become the lowest threshold in the future. It represents personal accomplishment, cultural retro cognition, and so on.

  From the observation of the members of our grass baby reading club, most book lovers like paper reading. Every offline reading party, you can see various translations of foreign novels. To paraphrase the fashion world: elegance is never out of date.


  Can paper books give you better reading content, and then cause you to think?

  Green tea: There is a close relationship between thinking style and reading habits. Paper books are really more conducive to thinking for people of our generation who grew up reading paper books. Black and white is a magical combination, which will project a thinking field in our brains, so that different books will collide, intersect and intertextuality here, and then a "market of ideas" will be generated, and different people will get what they want.

  Zhao Zongbiao: Not necessarily. What can arouse readers’ thinking is the content, which has nothing to do with whether the carrier is paper. At present, the ideological content of paper books has no advantage.

  Distant: No, I’m not so sure. It is true that paper books have a large volume and can carry more content, but in today’s fragmented and instant era, there are also many things that can cause me to think and resonate.

  They revolve around things around us or international current events. These readings are like 100,000 words on WeChat, which can arouse the public’s attention and resonance in the most immediate way, which seems to be inseparable from people’s lives today. These reading words are completely different from those in books, and there is no better comparison. If Confucius lived today, he would become the great V of the world.


  You may meet many heroes and great men in reading, but can you find yourself in reading?

  Green tea: It is really a long process to find yourself. Long-term reading will develop the ability of independent thinking. Those so-called heroes and great men are gradually becoming ordinary and sanctified in your heart, and even great people like Confucius and Sima Qian will be regarded as adults, not gods.

  When you can look at these heroes and great men, it is time to find yourself. Of course, the premise of everything is — — Read enough books and get to know the so-called heroes and great men from different perspectives.

  Zhao Zongbiao: No. When I was a teenager, I did meet many heroes and great men. After middle age, there are no heroes and great men found in reading, and they are all people with the same human nature. In reading, both heroes and clowns can find their own reflections at any time.

  Distant place: Yes, the ancients said to meet the sage Si Qi, but although only occasionally can we find our small self — — Nuo Nuo’s self, which is sometimes jittery and sometimes subservient, can touch the soul every time, especially the works of those masters who criticize realism.

  This process of discovering oneself is a profound experience, which is completely different from many sensational texts. When exchanging reading experience offline, it often leads to many similar resonances, exchanges and discussions. As an organizer, this moment always makes me unforgettable.


  Reading word by word from paper will make you feel more deeply in reading?

  Green tea: My answer to this question is the same as the third question. The magic in black and white always fascinates me.

  Zhao Zongbiao: No. Reading can draw, resonate or reflect. When I was a teenager, I read word by word, and I didn’t necessarily understand the meaning. That’s the learning stage. Looking back after middle age, you may burst into tears. Because it resonates. Some content, understanding may be completely different from the original, with shock and reflection.

  Distant: Of course. I often do intensive reading word by word or drawing pictures in circles in books. I can also cite many examples of book clubs: one book club wrote down many experiences in the book War and Peace; Some book clubs will write their reading experience into their personal WeChat WeChat official account; Some book lovers like to draw mind maps of reading.

  Some reading habits are an addiction that can be called a disease, and can also be regarded as an addictive disease. For example, some translated novels are not even satisfied with reading word by word, so they should get the original text and make an appointment with the translator on behalf of the reader and the author.

  (dry) land

  Books bearing the reading mission, their civilized style, will give you a beautiful surprise?

  Green tea: Yes, books are beautiful. Especially those ancient books, ancient characters, ancient paper and ancient seals that are hundreds and thousands of years old are really beautiful, but unfortunately I can’t afford them. Therefore, frequent visits to the study rooms of different bibliophiles in recent years just want to see as many beautiful things and objects as possible, which is really beautiful.

  Today’s books are more and more particular about binding, design, word usage, format and so on, and there are also the most beautiful books in China and the most beautiful books in the world. In all human civilization styles, books are undoubtedly in the aesthetic echelon.

  Zhao Zongbiao: Yes. I am an aesthete. I will buy books that are bound and designed, but I don’t necessarily read them. I especially like hardcover books.

  Distant place: Yes, there must be a touch of beauty. As for whether it is a surprise, I’m not sure. A writer in the west once said: Books are my original hometown. This sentence is applicable to everyone who is addicted to books.

  In the early years, our readers could still experience the joy of returning home in bookstores, libraries and book fairs, but now when the bookstores are full of coffee aroma and the book fair has become a demolition site, I naturally feel more afraid of being near home. I also have some doubts about whether the current books still carry the reading mission. Your question made me doubt myself, as if I saw a young me being named to answer difficult questions in class.


  When thoughts are about to turn into gloomy clouds and fog, and knowledge degenerates into a worrying sunset, is it necessary to read for treatment?

  Green tea: I don’t know if reading has such a strong ability, but at least it can be regarded as the most important post on the road to treatment. For me, I may not want to go down again when I get to this post. After all, few people can reach the other side of my mind.

  Zhao Zongbiao: No. Need politicians to treat.

  Distant place: If thoughts have been corrupted, if knowledge has degenerated, I think it is a human problem and a social problem. Reading is a way and means, but what it can achieve is probably only individual redemption. To solve the cultural problems of a society, we need the collective cultural consciousness of the whole society. If every parent respects and loves books, that future is worth imagining.

  In the name of the translator, Mr. Cao Ying, we initiated a reading club, and formally registered a non-governmental organization in Shanghai, hoping to bring a fresh green to the loess in Residual Yang. In the three years since the establishment of the book club, many book lovers have opened up the territory of reading, deepened the understanding of the text, and forged mutual friendship along the way. I think all this is meaningful.


  If I say that reading with a book is beautiful, will you read a few pages with a book every day?

  Green tea: I read every day, no matter whether my posture is beautiful or not, I often read in the toilet. Recently, into the pit became a video blogger, and he searched among books every day, looking for some topics and good books, making videos and sharing them with fans. Although silly appearance, it doesn’t look beautiful at all, but fortunately there are layers of books in the background, they are beautiful, and it doesn’t matter if I am ugly. Maybe people watch videos because they want to read those books, instead of watching me nag.

  Zhao Zongbiao: I read more than one book a day when I was a teenager, and now there are fewer and fewer books to read. When I meet a good book, I am used to reading it all at once. Never consider whether the posture of reading is beautiful. Beauty reading, of course, is more beautiful.

  Distant place: Haha, this question from Teacher Li is excellent. The readers of Caoying Reading Club will have various extensions in the future. Please allow me to relay your question to every expectant mother.

  I know a diligent reader who completes his reading notes on time every week. Her head is an oil painting, in which the girl is holding a book and reading quietly on a bench, and a lovely shepherd dog lies at her feet. This painting is beautiful, and I want to share it with more friends. Personally, reading likes to steal time. As the ancients said, reading "three books", this picture of leisure, hehe, is not beautiful.

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