Choosing How to Read a Book, as a Teenager Today

Photo by Ciara Mulvaney

Technology is a brilliant thing, writes Niamh Mulvaney.

At 16, it helps me in everyday life – entertains me when all else fails, allows me to keep in contact with my friends and, being part of a generation that is lucky enough to be growing up alongside certain technology, but wasn’t exactly born with mobile in hand, the possibilities are endless.

I didn’t have a phone, actually, until I was 12 and by that time I was desperate for one. For children, much younger, now phones, tablets, laptops and computers are part of daily life. Therefore, in terms of reading, it is only natural that for these kids the ebook is the norm. Paperbacks are fast becoming ‘old skool’ and in the not too distant future will probably be referred to as vintage!

So the challenge for my generation now lies in loosening our grip on the tangible books that we’ve known all our lives and finding a good balance between these and the digital versions – because it’s important to experience.

I love to read and I always have. Fantasy, fiction, romance and autobiographies are all up there on my list of favourites. My problem is that my schoolbag weighs a tonne and I don’t have a lot of time to read anymore between school and hobbies – so squeezing in that precious 15 minutes on the bus is vital. With this in mind, I recently bought a Kindle and I honestly can't recommend them enough. For the working mother or father, the busy college student or even the teenager whose social life takes priority, it is an essential.

Finding yourself with free time when you're out and about can result in finding out what happens to your favourite character or maybe just finishing the chapter you haven't got around to yet. If the paperback is a big one you may not have even bothered to carry it – so look how you’d have been missing out! Or maybe you like to alternate between two books; chances are you wouldn’t bother lugging more than one around.  

Having an e-reader, however, means having hundreds of books in your bag at once and subsequently hundreds of worlds to be discovered. Of course I would hate for my generation to forget the paperback books we grew up with, and the smell of an old book will never be beaten; but with technological advances providing us with such a wealth of reading opportunities, we really should be embracing them.