Can books save us? Reading can be used for many different motives; education, enjoyment, research etc. Books have immensely helped fuel education and therefore, it can be argued that reading is the past, present and future, moreover, being our saviour and the reason to take action in social and political issues. However, is it enough?

Reading by itself is not always enough. Many young people do not let the information sink in, it is also a distraction provided from day to day life for many people. Therefore, taking action from reading a book is quite rare. On the other hand, an advantage, is that it propels many different branches, for example, analysis in lessons, youtube videos explaining books, conversations with surrounding people, provoking more reading and awareness on the subject and book clubs, where people can get together and help understand the deeper message of some books. A Portuguese writer named Paulo Freire says that dialogue is the key to saviour. ‘I engage in dialogue because I recognise the social and not merely the individualistic character of the process of knowing… dialogue presents itself as both learning and knowing.’

Many young people who seek this education, read as a personal achievement and for personal validation. Clearly, these readers will not take action after reading books. Many people (especially younger) start reading more after seeing recommendations on tik tok, youtube,  influencers or celebrities, this shows that there is a first push before the action, and many will not take action if their inspiration to read does not.

Nowadays, the increase in information on social media, and the use of phones has halted the amount of people that read, as so much more time is spent on social media, where the information is given shorter. 

Reading also can help, for example, I AM MALALA, educating readers of all ages and spreading awareness. It can be the first cause before launching somebody on the climb of activism, but it does not always. Ultimately, by taking action via activism and conversation, passing the message and helping is much more effective. 

Another issue is that due to the mix between entertainment and seriousness of reading, books and stories can be romanticized. Movements and victim’s stories can be altered, to fit a more propelling and enjoyable storyline. This sustains belief that salvation comes from people who have suffered the most. The movement will do it, ‘the liberation of the oppressed will not come without liberation of the oppressor.’ Paulo Freire