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Culture Shock! Why Doesn´t Anyone Read?

When traveling on long bus trips, or when we have time to kill sitting in the park, we always have a paperback or a Nookbook to pull out.    What we are wondering is, why do we never see any of the locals reading?  Sure, once in a while you catch a student studying for classes, or an old lady reading  a romance novel, but for the most part people just sit and stare into empty space when unoccupied.   Every day we also see street vendors and bus attendants or various other workers with an abudance of downtime, but they are never reading.  You´d bet if I were them I´d read a book a week!  I don´t think it´s a literacy problem, just something that´s embedded in the culture.  The positive opinion on this is that people evidently aren´t in constant need of stimulus (ADHD) like people from Europe, North America, or China are, but there is definetly a HUGE downside!  Not reading seems to indicate a lack of curiosity, as well as decreased learning potential, vocabulary, and general reading skills.  Reading for pleasure would definitely be a hard phenomenon to introduce, but we think it would have great benefits.  Fortunately we have come across many NGOs and charity groups starting libraries and trying to encourage reading.  It´s going to take awhile though.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

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About Zach

Zach seeks to live a simpler life without the extravagance of American culture. Buy fewer things, need less money, work less, play more.

Posted on February 15, 2012, in Bolivia, Colombia, Culture Shock!, Ecuador, Peru, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I travel a great deal, and I have been shocked by how many people stare into space when flying. No book, no magazine, no nothing. I recently flew to Paris (a 10 hour flight) and the woman next to me didn’t read a book. I wanted to hand her mine and say “READ SOMETHING!” I get the most reading time in at airports and on airplanes . . .

  2. Don’t you think this is a bit condescending?

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