Monday, August 30, 2010

Finding It Hard to Read?

The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains is a new book by author Nicolas Carr, in which he examines how the Internet is changing the way we think. Just released in June (2010), I have not read Carr's book, but it has generated numerous reviews and sparked more discussion across the Web, as well as in Wired and other magazines -- these, I have read, and I wanted to quickly add my own, personal story of trying (like hell) to read a book during the period I was offline (thanks to a timely lightning shot from God [well, I don't know that it was God, but He is highly suspect]):

In short, I almost could not do it.

I say "almost" because, once I wrestled with the notion of not being able to pay attention, I redoubled my efforts and was able to start reading it as I used to, though I was still hyper-aware of the fact that I was reading a book, whereas before (most notably in my adolescence), the words immediately created the imagery in my mind. Then, my young mind literally drank the words without question, without stopping to consider them; over the last week, while trying to read a novel of moderate length (about 150-200 pgs.) by one of the best authors ever (Raymond Chandler), I was forced to reread the same paragraphs time and again before they finally "stuck." By that point, I was honestly so disheartened that, despite the fact that I was interested in what I had read and wanted to read more, I simply laid the book aside and have yet to pick it up again.

I am certain part of the issue had to do with the fact that an essential part of my world was gone (the Internet, of course), but after reading about Carr's new book and theory, I was immediately reminded of the fact that I - and I have noted this before - have little or no trouble reading non-fiction, whether a book or magazine. This leads me to believe that Carr is fundamentally correct in his assertion that there is some primal need for the latest news, for staying "current" and knowing what is happening around us at all times, and the Internet feeds this to such an extent that it has changed the way we think and process things.

Again, I have not read The Shallows, nor is this a sponsored post; I heard an interview with Carr this afternoon and have read several reviews and articles regarding his book over the last few weeks, and I wanted to share my story of not quite being able to read one of my favorite author's works even when I had no Internet to distract me.

© C Harris Lynn, 2010

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