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"Twilight of the Books" is an article by Caleb Crain first published in the December 24th, 2007 issue of the New Yorker Magazine. Its subtitle, "What Will Life be Like if People Stop Reading?" highlights Crain's main focus. The author investigates how the contemporary decrease in reading will affect civilization. In ancient civilizations the written language was more image-based. "Twilight" also reflects how the increase in technology leads to a decrease in reading, both individually and generationally. The article notes that different parts of the brain are stimulated by reading and by what kind of alphabet you are using. The article also distinguishes between the thoughts processes of oral and written people groups. Both written and verbal storytelling affect memory, developing retention for the respective categories.

Akil.craig 19:48, February 3, 2010 (UTC) "Twilight of the Books" was interesting to see the tracking of the decline of reading. However, I did not find this shocking because we have shifted from a society who read to gain information, while now we can access to videos about current news from anywhere. This note taking system was helpful because it allows you to seek the key information in an article without having to re-read it. This technique would be useful in writing a paper so that any facts you need could be easy withdrawn from the article. It is also a way to see possible errors and contradictions in text. This allows the user of the system to analyze the article more efficiently.

Laura Balboni 02:58, February 3, 2010 (UTC)In the reading, it said that readers and viewers think differently. This difference has to do with the way people think. When someone is reading a book, they are able to imagine the characters and locations for themselves. When reading, one is constantly thinking and using their imagination even if they’re not aware of it. When watching TV everything is given right there on the screen; there’s no room for imagination. Therefore a viewer is lazier than a reader.

One line that Wolf wrote which surprised me and contradicted the idea above was, “When reading goes well it feels effortless, like drifting down a river rather than rowing up. It makes you smarter because it leaves more of your brain alone.” I found this strange because I thought when you use more of your brain you become smarter. For example when you’re reading about a topic that is unfamiliar, it may be difficult because you may not understand everything, but it is making you smarter due to the fact that you’re learning new things. I thought that in order to become smarter you needed to use the brain. No one gets smarter sitting on the couch staring up at the ceiling.


Marquishafranks 02:39, February 3, 2010 (UTC)"Twilight of the Books" has a lot of holes in the reasoning but presents an overall statement of the future and trends of reading. The author has all the right ideas about incoporating statistics in his writing to enhance his credibility. However, the statistics can be made more sound by revealing more details about their source. But the author made it possible for any reader to digest the information and form an their own opion on the past,current, and future state of reading.

JeffersonIles 18:32, February 3, 2010 (UTC)

Right of the back the writer starts to show that reading is in a decline by using percentages . I found the beginning of the article extremely interesting because it showed that the way you ask ask a question can ultimately affect the result. The writer then goes on to express the cause. He argues that technology, most importantly the T.V. has had a negative effect in reading. I also found it intersting that older people actually read more than our generation; perhaps because tthe older generation was raised without a T.V. Towards the end of the article I really like the study that was done in which they compared literate v. illiterate persons.

Brianbreed 20:22, February 1, 2010 (UTC) Change HistoryEdit

Tucker.Isgrig 19:13, February 3, 2010 (UTC) “A reader learns about the world and imagines it differently from the way a viewer does; according to some experimental psychologists, a reader and a viewer even think differently,” (Crain). This would mean that reading helps develop the brain in different ways then watching television does which I don't always believe is true. Although I sometimes agree with this, for the most part believe reading helps the reader use their imagination and creativity to develop ideas about settings or the characters, where as television paints the picture for you. Although painting pictures and being able to just watch can be bad, sometimes television is great. For example in scientific articles, reading can become hard because the subject matter is boring and people don’t fully capture the reader where as watching science shows often do capture their audience. Also reading the same information over and over again isn't always a perfect way to develop the brain. I think it is a lot easier to retell information in which I watched on T.V. These t.v. shows give full examples that demonstrate as well as relate the narration to what the viewers are watching which allows for easier abilities to remember.


Michaelkjelson 22:06, February 1, 2010 (UTC)

A couple things worth noting in the text: Why did the largest improvement of reading skills among fourth and fifth graders occur just before the No Child Left Behind Act took effect? Isn’t that “act” in place to improve the reading skills of students?

Also, I found the statements by Maryanne Wolf to be pretty interesting when she spoke of the act of reading. She says that “humans started reading far too recently for any of our genes to code it for specifically.” I found that taking a look back and observing the act of reading, it actually is not natural. Looking at a bunch of lines while our brains interpret them simultaneously is seems crazy to me. And according to Wolf, our brains shouldn’t even be able to do so. Her basis for determining this is due to the tests that she did on squid, which have similar optic-nerve cells, which I also find interesting.

Another aspect of the reading that was interesting was the way in which the illiterate thought. Instead of describing items with colors they used metaphorical names such as “peach”, “liver”, and “decayed teeth”. Also when asked which of the four items did not belong (a saw, axe, log, and hammer) they chose the hammer because it was not used in the wood cutting process while most people would choose the log because it is not a tool.


Alex Jameson

"In ancient Greek, if you knew how to pronounce a word, you knew how to spell it, and you could sound out almost any word you saw, even if you’d never heard it before. Children learned to read and write Greek in about three years, somewhat faster than modern children learn English, whose alphabet is more ambiguous." If Caleb Crains article does offer anything, it's interesting facts that are almost insulting to todays society. I disagree with the fact that if you are not reading 'literature', you aren't really reading, I do still find it amazing that in a society 2500 years ago, children became fluent in reading and writing greek. I also found it very interesting that the Greek alphabet and/or language was the first language to have sounded out vowels and phonetic words.

Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/atlarge/2007/12/24/071224crat_atlarge_crain?currentPage=2#ixzz0eRdI6rTD


Steven Bastardo

Overall, Cain does a good job of bringing a lot of statistics and numbers to support his theory that the art of reading is basically dying. This, however, is only from a literary standpoint. After actually analyzing his statistics, it's easy to see that much of the information he presents is basically just in his favor. Truthfully, no statistics are ever entirely in one's favor, so, just like most authors, Cain uses the numbers to sound like they support what he wants to say. The more he throws at you, and the bigger the numbers, the more it overwhelms you into believing everything that he is saying.


Topherfernandez1019 16:54, February 3, 2010 (UTC)

I found the article by Cain to be very interesting. The data shows how society in entirety is not reading books or anything anymore. I believe this shift to be a cause of TV and the internet. The internet provides people with all the information they need instead of reading to find it out. TV provides the entertainment that people crave instead of the entertainment they had found in books for ages past. Time will only tell what will happen to books and articles for the age of pen and paper are falling behind where the age of electronics is taking over.


Agoldman 17:09, February 3, 2010 (UTC)

Although I largely agree with what Cain is saying, I don't think he always keeps his support coherent. When he says, "the average adult's skill in reading prose slipped one point on a five-hundred-point scale," that only takes away from his argument. He really should have omitted that. There's also a full page and a half giving background about Maryanne Wolf before Cain explains why he included her in his article in the first place. Other than that, the article provides some interesting factoids about reading, such as how it is related to brain development, and cognitive thinking. To me, the most interesting point was that illiterates resist giving definitions or making inferences.

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