Should Reading Be Promoted as a “Legal Drug”?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

girl reading

By Edward Nawotka

In today’s feature story Shashi Martynova, who is known as one of the most enthusiastic advocates of reading in Russia, suggested that one tactic that could be used to entice a younger generation of readers to pick up books instead of video games or submit to other distractions was to promote reading as “a legal drug.”

“Often, when you talk about reading, you’re thinking of something that is intimate, extremely secluded and highbrow,” she said, “but we need to talk about reading as a ‘legal drug,’ something that is healthy, takes you to an alternate reality, is sometimes trippy and sometimes dizzy.” She added, “the message to youngsters is — ‘if you read, you’re trendy,’” adding, “That is all the propaganda you will need.”

The prospect of equating reading with something as taboo as drug use is intriguing. But would it work? Do you think the morality watchdogs in the West would object — even if it were in the service of something so righteous as reading. Or do the positives so outweigh the negatives as to make it a viable proposition?

Let us know what you think in the comments.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.