Monday, December 14, 2015

Now Let Us Praise Adult Coloring Books

It’s too easy to say that something is wrong with a world where best seller lists are filled with adult coloring books. Which would you prefer, people spending their leisure time with adult coloring books or with adult videos?

The New York Post has the story:

Nine of the 20 books on Amazon’s current bestseller list contain few words and belong to a genre that didn’t exist two years ago. Welcome to the biggest publishing craze of the year: coloring books for adults.

More than 2,000 have hit stands since 2013 and the genre’s two biggest bestsellers, “Secret Garden” and “Enchanted Forest,” have sold a combined 13.5 million copies in 50 countries.

We might say that no one reads any more, but that too is too facile. Considering how much reading material is available online every day, it does not make sense to think that reading has gone out of style.

And considering how many text messages and emails people are sending it does not make sense to say that no one is writing any more.

But, how well do we know what people are reading? Are they reading great journalism, brilliant essays and serious fiction or are they reading the friends’ Facebooks postings, tweets and text messages? Then again, how much computer time is spent looking at porn? 

One suspects that the internet has provided more material of inferior quality to read. Many people do not register the fact that the quality of writing, even at some excellent publications, has declined. Perhaps they look to coloring books for respite from the din.

Psychologists have offered up a variety of explanations for the worldwide popularity of coloring books. It is too obvious to suggest that people have used them to get in touch with their inner child. While this might explain their popularity in cultures where psychobabble rules, coloring books are popular around the world. People are rushing out to buy them in France, in Brazil, in China and in America.

Some have suggested that it provides a creative outlet for people whose lives often lack same. And it’s much easier to fill in the blanks than to draw a picture yourself. You will be happy to show off your coloring book and will be inclined to hide your efforts at artistic creation.

Some believe, reasonably, that coloring is like meditation. If focuses your attention on a task outside of yourself and slows you down. It gets you out of your mind and away from computerized time. It takes you away from the computer screen and the smart phone and allows you a tactile sensation, a closer physical contact with what you are doing.

All writers know that writing on a keyboard is not the same as writing by hand. The sensation is different. The timing is different.

When you write on a keyboard, you write as fast as your fingers can move. Thus, when you write drafts on a keyboard, you will find that you overwrite, use too many words, and fill in space for the sake of filling in space. Anyone who writes on a keyboard needs some serious editing.

When you write by hand, you slow down, think things through and enter a different time zone.

If the coloring book craze means that people have been turned off to reading, this is surely not a good thing. If it means that people are returning to their second childhood, it is also not a good sign.

But if it means that people around the world have found an activity that provides a respite from flashing cursors, computer screens, television monitors, smart phones and James Deen … then maybe it’s not such a bad thing after all.

Surely, it’s better than being glued to the computer screen, watching porn.


Ares Olympus said...

It's probably just a fad, but a mostly harmless one. You'd expect soon enough there'll be free PDF printable downloads that will deflate the market value, but its a chance for marketers to be creative too.

Why do I imagine all the colorers are women? It might be a social activity, like quilting clubs? At least a nonverbal activity would seem compatible with talking the daily gossip.

Maybe they can get men involved, too, just turn in them into uncolored comic books with sexy superhero heroines and villainesses that need to be colored? And they can leave some of the interjection bubbles empty where the colorer can decide between POW or KABOOM!

The possibilities are endless.

Anonymous said...


priss rules said...

children forever

Sam L. said...

Coloring books are WHITE with BLACK lines! They are RAAAAACIST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11111!!!