Literature through the Eyes of Gen-Z

By Laia Gomez Picón, ESF

Our generation has a complicated relationship with literature. Gen-Z is known as the generation which grew up with technology. In everyone’s eyes we’re the generation which was born with a phone in their hands and a generation that is all about the internet and social media. People believe that we are so focused on the internet that we are oblivious to books and literature. They believe that our generation is unable to open a book willingly and to enjoy it. However, we haven’t lost our love for literature just yet. 

Contrary to popular belief, teenagers can still be spotted walking around with a book in their hand. We see people smiling at what they are reading, sometimes even letting out a laugh, and we reminisce the feeling of enjoying a book. Young people are constantly debating whether one book is better than the other as well as comparing their favorite parts in some books. If you ask a teenager today what it feels like to read a book that they love they’ll say, “it feels like an escape from reality”. They read in order to get away from reality and as a form of self-care. Whilst other teenagers also find it a way to liberate themselves and to expand their knowledge. 

Literature establishes the basis of most of our thoughts and knowledge. It opens our minds to other beliefs and makes us consider different ways of thinking. This is essential in our changing world as we are slowly leaving our closed minded past behind. As a result, Gen-Z is also known to be the most open-minded generation yet. Literature also helps our generation to socialize. Thanks to literature, we can find things to talk about, leading to new friendships and even relationships. 

One of the most amazing things about our generation is the diversity of our interests. Many of us like teen novels whereas others might prefer novels based on historic events or science fiction. So, for an author to write a book for our generation they don’t have to be big; they just need to have the skill.  Members of our generation are well known for discussing anything they come across, so it is no surprise when I hear debates about books being better than movies from my friends. Therefore, the assumption that our generation is too lazy to read books and will only watch movies might not be as true as some believe. 

There is an extensive debate going on about the preference between reading paper books and electronic books on Kindles. It will come as a surprise to many, but Gen-Z prefers reading printed books. Even though the technological world continues to evolve daily, the experience will never be as pure as reading off paper. Gen-Z is aware that e-books are a lot more accessible, therefore it will probably become a lot more common in the future. In 2019 only 4 % of child book sales was digital, whereas people between the ages of 18 and 29 held the highest figure of digital sales with 34%. 

Even though our relationship with literature is better than what most believe, it is nowhere near perfect. In order to keep learning and keep opening our minds we must encourage each other to keep on reading, especially about those things we can’t get.  Reading expands our vocabulary in our language and in others. This is very useful in our advanced world which gets more international every day. This way we will be able to save reading and maybe even increase the number of us readers. 

So yes, even though Gen-Z spends time on social media and the internet, we enjoy putting down our phones and shutting off social media in order to feel things and have real connections. We still enjoy the indescribable captivation of words on a page that generations before us have for hundreds of years, and I have no doubts that this will continue for generations to come. 

Sources:  

GenZ and its relationship with literature by: Kartika jamdar – GenZ NEWS (wordpress.com) 

How Does Generation Z Read? | Book Riot 

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