Struggling to make ends meet, an increasing number of educated Arabs, who surprisingly include some Qatari intellectuals as well, say they hardly find time to read books.
What has additionally affected the reading habits of this section of the Arab society is the emergence of new technologies, among them the Internet, besides television.
Confirming what appears to be an unprecedented development, 58 percent of the respondents to a survey on book reading habits, conducted by Al Sharq among its patrons, said they were not left with enough time from their work and other daily schedules to read books.
Only 39 percent said they did take some time off from their daily chores to read books of their choice, while a miniscule minority of three percent of the interviewees said they could not offer any comment.
Significantly, among the respondents were three prominent Qatari literary figures, namely, Hassan Hussein, Mubarak Al Hajri and Aqueel Al Jinahi. While the first two are celebrated writers, the latter is a famous singer and
Hussein, while admitting that the Internet and television posed a major threat to books, said new technologies could never ever replace the printed word.
“You cannot enhance your knowledge relying on the Internet and television. Only a book can help,” he said.
“A book is a book and the Internet and television can never ever be its substitute,” said Al Hajri. “I tried to look for an alternative to books in the new technologies but, honestly speaking, I miserably failed.”
“If one is looking for authentic information, only a book can help,” he added.
Expressing similar views, Al Jinahi said whatever the new developments were, the importance of books could never be undermined by any new and emerging technology.
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