Letters to the Editor: Digital reading is fast food compared to literature. Digest a real book

Young people read on their smartphones while riding a train in Wuhan, China, in 2018.
(Zhang Peng / LightRocket via Getty Images)

To the editor: To answer Robin Abcarian’s question, “Does it really matter if our kids refuse to pick up a book?” — the answer is yes.

Print and digital are not educational equivalents. Books tell you information you might not be seeking out.

You may pick up a breezy Dick Francis book to read a good mystery, but you then get educated about English horse racing, what it means to live as a jockey and the mistreatment of horses. Digital gives you only what you want, and its algorithms cave into your narrow fields of interest.


Books are “worlds” to live in — to slow down in, to think in, to learn from. Digital articles and social media are there to get viewed and clicked, fast food compared to the full meal that literature represents.

Abcarian’s citation of Kanye West as an example of someone successful who does not read books made me laugh out loud. Yes, he is famous and has made zillions of dollars, but I think very few people find him a model for our children.

Mark Winkler, Studio City


To the editor: The world has become so impatient and in need of instant gratification in every aspect of daily life — or else, panic.

The fun of reading a book — of getting immersed in a story about a famous person, a scientist, a family or a faraway place, traveling into space, or whatever might pique your imagination — is the greatest gift a person can give themselves.

To dismiss the worry about children not reading books as being out of touch with modern media and new ways of getting information is selling the fun of reading extremely short.


There is no need to plug in a book (unless it’s on an e-reader device); just find a quiet, comfortable place to curl up, turn to the first page, and begin a wonderful adventure that takes you anywhere you want to go. The rewards are immeasurable when you read.

It broadens people’s minds. I read that in a book.

Frances Terrell Lippman, Sherman Oaks


To the editor: True that, what Abcarian said about kids and our obsession with making them read like we did. The new generation should always be a surprise to the old, lest humanity stand still.

So, when my son was 11 (and I’d been writing professionally for 30 years, including books), he actually said these words to me: “Russ, I don’t get why anyone would read a book, if somebody’s made it into a movie.”

I was suddenly that befuddled cartoon character with the wide eyes — blink, blink. But theirs is a different world, one that they must learn to navigate in their own way.

That said, my son is now 26 and reads books all the time, more than I do. Surprise, surprise.


Russ Woody, Studio City