Like a lot of you out there, I really hate reading. I didn’t start until later in life; my parents were afraid I might accidentally wander into licentious territory if left to explore the literary world on my own. Of course, their fear was unfounded — back in my day, we didn’t have such perniciously sinful works as 50 Shades of Grey and Harry Potter. All we had was the Bible, and we were happy to have it.
The problem was, once I started reading, I soon discovered how little it suited me. Luckily, thanks to government legislation aimed at improving students’ math skills, reading didn’t come up very often at school, so the only real test of my abilities was the plastic menu at Fuddruckers. But sometimes, in the long and torturous hours between playing horse at recess and planning world domination in detention, a book was foisted upon me, causing me no end of angst. I spent hours daydreaming of ways to make reading more enjoyable. Here’s what I came up with.
If you’ve ever been on the Internet, you’ve seen text pictures. Sometimes they’re fun little fairies, and sometimes they’re detailed schematics of American aircraft carriers. Regardless of their design, they all share one similarity: they’re a hoot. If my medical textbooks had been in pictorial form, that guy in the park might still have an intact aorta.
Imagine students rushing to their seats every day to study their Shakespeare texts. Why? Because they’re reading Shakespeare in pictures! A love sonnet would be infinitely more fun if the words were shaped into some lewd silhouette. Harry Potter could be a broomstick; Crime and Punishment, an axe.
RESHAPE THE DIALOGUE
Part of what makes reading so boring is the actual book. E-readers do a lot to reduce the stress of vacationing with my tombstone-sized copy of War and Peace, but they’re still basically book-shaped. They’re more boring and square than a Soviet premier on parade day.
We need to redesign the book entirely. Must it be a misery to hoist between my meaty hands? Instead of paper and glue, books could be made out of new-age fabric. Imagine a soft, pillow-like Pride and Prejudice that could lull you to sleep with the dulcet tones of its melodious prose and then let you rest easy on its downy spine.
Or what if we made them lighter and easier to hold? Imagine a book so light it floated. We could print them on balloons and fill them with helium. Of course, the books would have to be pretty short to fit on a balloon, but you shouldn’t be reading more than a few pages anyway. How are you going to meet a husband if you’re always reading?
A Bright Idea
I’m sure we’ve all been in the uncomfortable state of sitting in darkness. It’s the first thing that hits you when you turn out the lights. And who knows what might linger in the unlit corners of the world? Could be a spider. Could be the tax man. Could be my 1995 Chevy Lumina. I just don’t know, and frankly, I’d rather avoid finding out. If books glowed in the dark, I’d never have to.
You’d never need another flashlight. The light bulb would be ancient history. Toss a few glow-in-the-dark classics in the backpack on your way out the door and you’re set. I’d take them everywhere. Concerts, movie theatres, restaurants — even my grandma’s basement cell to visit my sister. I’d probably never read the books, but if I ever did want to, they would be right there. Books would finally have a purpose again.
Subliminal messaging is a powerful thing. I’m still convinced it was how my ex-wife got me to marry her. But we only ever hear bad things about it — this rock group is teaching kids about the devil, that Disney film is exposing them to phallic imagery. What a tease if the movie hints at scandalous subliminal messaging but doesn’t deliver. I’m never watching The Little Mermaid again.
Where are all the examples of wholesome subliminal messages? Imagine if we took the same genius and applied it to spreading good, honest Canadian values like conservatism and a love of maple syrup. We just have to figure out a way to implant subliminal messages into all of our floating pillow-books, and we’ll be a people of sticky-sweet morality in no time. I’m no scientist, but I’m pretty sure there’s got to be some way to teach my kids to love the Queen while they burn their way through the latest copies of Betty and Veronica. Get on that, scientists.
The potential is limitless. No longer does reading have to be a humdrum chore, pushed on us cool, wayward youths by the stagnant jackboot of the older generations. It becomes a veritable orgy of knowledge, available for all, in a shape we can appreciate.