A History of Reading (A collab. with Tia@Tall Blonde Tales)

Hope you’re all doing great! Today’s post is a collaboration with Tia @ Tall Blonde Tales. She is an amazing friend who writes on relatable lifestyle topics in an informative and interactive manner. Apart from being a brilliant blogger, she is also a Potterhead! You have got to check out her Harry Potter bucket lists, they are fantastic!

Since, the both of us share a common love for reading, what better topic than that, to collaborate on? She penned down a stunning post mentioning the benefits of reading. Make sure you check out her take on the benefits of reading here!

And now for a blast back into the past (and eventual return)! Boy, I wish I could stay there for a while..


I find it rather amusing that you’re reading a post about the history of reading while questioning your reading practices(at least overthinkers would!) I’ll get started by explaining what reading means, quoting Wikipedia of course, “Reading is the complex cognitive process of decoding symbols to derive meaning. It is a form of language processing. Reading is a means for language acquisition, communication, and sharing information and ideas.”

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels

I know history is often considered a boring subject by many but reading has saved and continues to save many lives both figuratively and literally, that I think not knowing a brief account of its history is almost a crime. Reading as an asocial solo activity is actually a relatively recent phenomenon. 

Let’s go through its history one century at a time. Print technology dates back to as far as AD 594. The earliest kind of print technology, which was a system of hand printing was developed in China, Japan and Korea. According to Wikipedia, “The history of reading dates back to the invention of writing during the 4th millennium BC”. 

The 13th, 14th and 15th centuries (one century at a time after this, I promise):

In 1295, i.e the 13th century, Marco Polo returned to Europe after a period of exploration in China. He brought the Chinese art of woodblock printing along with his return expediting the spread of this technology across Europe which subsequently, led to an increase in the demand for books which in turn, led to booksellers exporting books to many different countries. Johann Gutenberg came to the rescue when booksellers found it increasingly difficult to keep up with rapidly increasing demands by inventing a new method of printing. The Gutenberg Bible is known to be the first printed book and was printed in Europe in 1445 by Johannes Gutenberg.

Fast forward to the 17th century:

By the 17th century, text technologies like moveable type and the rise of vernacular writing gave birth to the leisure reading we practice today. Also, as urban culture gained more popularity in China, uses of print diversified.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels

The 18th century:

Quoting Wikipedia yet again, “during the Age of Enlightenment (1715-1789), elite individuals promoted passive reading, rather than creative interpretation. Reading has no concrete laws, but lets readers escape to produce their own products introspectively, promoting deep exploration of texts during interpretation.” Reading played an important role in the French Revolution(1789) where controversial views were published and spread in the form of brochures and magazines. These were also read aloud for the benefit of the illiterate. Naturally, through the 17th and 18th centuries, literacy rates increased in many parts of Europe.

The 18th century had some peculiar views which included considering the act of reading in bed as dangerous and immoral. It was also thought that reading would cause women to question existing practices and beliefs. This was a widespread belief in many countries around the world.

We’re almost there i.e the 21st century.  Before the Industrial Revolution (1760-1840), only a tiny percentage of the population in many countries were considered literate. Europeans who could read did so aloud, Ancient Greeks and the monks of Europe did the same too. Classical Athens and the Islamic Caliphate were among the few pre-modern societies where the literacy levels were comparatively high. 

Photo by Wendy van Zyl on Pexels

The 19th century, finally:

 By the 19th century, mandatory schooling, cheaper production, and wider availability of books caused a noticeable increase in the literacy rate which benefitted reading. Towards the end  of the 19th century, gas and electric lighting also ensured that reading didn’t have to be limited to the day time.The development and subsequent growth of the rail network helped make novels cheaper still at railway stations. Spreading of literacy and diverse kinds of reading material led to people reading more voraciously (newspapers and periodicals) and by the late 1800s i.e the 19th century, it had branched out into children’s literature and novels. 

The 20th century to the now:

Well, soon after came the 20th century where reading as we know became something of a usual act ranging from educational purposes to mental relaxation purposes. Something of a turning point in the 21st century was the increasing popularity of ebooks which substituted a large number of hard copies and became highly preferred due to the ease of use and portability it provided. But, interestingly, starting back in 1971, Michael S. Hart launched Project Gutenberg and digitized the U.S. Declaration of Independence, which became the first eBook in the world. The idea soon gained popularity and its public use skyrocketed with various companies producing their own e-readers and e-books.

This is by no means, a wholesome or compact history. We compiled information from a variety of sources and have mainly focused on the development of reading as both an act and hobby from the 13th century to the present while laying special emphasis on the European part although much of everything mentioned here took place at relatively the same time everywhere with variations due to socio-economic conditions and traditional beliefs in particular places.

So, that was all for the history. A huge thank you to Tia for doing this with me! I had great fun working with her! Don’t forget to check out her take on reading’s benefits here! Thank you so much for reading! Let me know what you think!

Previously on Random Specific Thoughts:
Disney Q&A with Renee

Similar Posts:
Parallels of Life (ft. Eleanor@Wishing Upon A Star)
Harry Potter Q&A with Aanya
Q&A with Catie

Disney Q&A with Renee

Today’s post is a collaboration with Renee from Renee’s Corner. She has a really entertaining blog where she posts stories, comics and artworks, check it out here!

So, given below are the questions I asked Renee and her answers.
Feel free to answer any of the questions I’ve asked, if you’d like. I’d love to read your take on them as well! Getting into it now!

1) Which is your favourite Disney character? Why?
Renee: I don’t know 😅

2) Who is your least favourite Disney princess? Why?
Renee: No one 😅

3) Would you watch Pirates of the Caribbean if Captain Jack Sparrow was portrayed by someone other than Johnny Depp?
Renee: Nope. He is the person who makes up Pirates Of The Caribbean according to me.

4) What do you think of the Princess Diaries book series?
Renee: I haven’t read it 😅yet.

5) Who do you most resemble in looks and habits in terms of Disney characters?
Renee: In looks, I would say Merida, since I have curly hair, but in habit, I would say Belle, since I’m a bookworm.

6) What did you think of Naomi’s portrayal of Princess Jasmine?
Renee: I guess it’s good, I’m not sure.

7) Did you like The Chronicles of Narnia’s book series or movies more? Why?
Renee: I would say movie, since I haven’t read the series XD.

8) What do you think makes Disney stand apart in the entertainment industry?
Renee: Everything. Literally everything. It has it’s own category of princesses and has entertainment for all ages.

9) What is your opinion of the author, Pamela Travers and Walt Disney himself after watching the movie, Saving Mr.Banks?
Renee: Well, I haven’t seen Saving Mr. Banks, so I don’t know…

10) Would you say Disney’s movies have influenced your way of thinking and imagination skills?
Renee: Imagination? Definitely. Thinking? Maybe.

11) How would you rate The Pirates of the Caribbean film series on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the worst?
Renee: 3.

12) What do you think of the soundtrack in Mary Poppins (1964)?
Renee: I haven’t heard it or seen the movie.

13) Would you agree that Disney’s animated movies hold lessons for adults too?
Renee: Maybe. In a hidden way.

14) Is there a movie that you have watched so many times as a kid that it feels nostalgic now?
Renee: I think maybe Tangled.

15) Finally, if you could create a character of your own, who or what would you make?
Renee: I would make a tomboy and in her story, she goes and rescues the prince XD.

I believe Disney has been a part of all our lives at some point or the other. Personally, I feel so many of their movies often have a little something for everyone! Make sure you check out her questions and my answers here !
Thank you for reading!

Previously on Random Specific Thoughts:
2 AM
Thursday Randoms

Similar Posts:
A History of Reading )Collaboration with Tia@Tall Blonde Tales)
Parallels of Life (ft. Eleanor@Wishing Upon A Star)
Harry Potter Q&A with Aanya
Q&A with Catie

Q & A with Catie!!

So, today’s post is a collab with Catie from Catie blogs! We basically did a Q&A where we asked each other questions. This is my first collab post and I’m like super excited!!
Make sure you check out Catie’s blog here! She posts delightful content and you should definitely go and follow her! Check out her post here!!
Please read till the end to know more about blog buttons. I finally managed to get them up and running with Catie’s help!

My Questions and Catie’s answers:

1. What inspired you to start blogging and what keeps you going?
I started blogging a long time ago, (because I couldn’t start a Youtube channel) and then abandoned it until last February-ish, when I picked it back up again. Seeing all y’all, loving me rant about random topics is probably what keeps me going. : )

2. List three words that describe you best.
Uhhhh I don’t know??? Maybe, curious, creative, and… optimistic? At least, more optimistic than my friends.

3. What are your views on climate change?
Well, I’m not a scientist, but I can tell you that it’s real, it’s affecting us and our planet, and we need to do something about it.

4. What is your biggest fear?
Um, pretty much everything. Spiders. Drowning. Talking to strangers is a big one.

5. Introvert or Extrovert?
I’m pretty 50/50, but quarantine has made me a bit more introvert.

6. What is your idea of a perfect day?
It would probably be a Monday or Thursday, because that’s my posting schedule. Sleeping in, listening to music, and blogging about something I enjoy. And tons of food.

7. What is the most rebellious thought you have ever had?
Well, I’m exposing myself here, but one time, me and my friends (C.C and Katrina) were walking home from the park, and, instead of going straight home, we went the long way. That’s the most Rebellious thing I’ve done. Either that or jumping out of a window at school. *Insert shrug*

A huge thank you to Catie for doing this collab with me! I had great fun answering her questions!

Collabs and Blog Buttons!

Please let me know if any of you are interested in collaborating on a post with me! Let me know here and I’ll get back to you!

And I finally managed to get my blog buttons up! You can visit the page here and let me know if you’d like to swap buttons with me!