Just finished an interesting article by Michael Harris, The Globe and Mail (Toronto) who decided to ditch his phone and read a book for a change – only a single chapter. But he found he couldn’t do it and after half an hour ditched the book and switched to Netflix!
In his words he’d forgotten how to read, really read. Apparently this is not uncommon but as an author this was embarrassing. He felt that books opened up the world, but now all this screen orientation had closed that world and opened another. He feels that losing old styles of reading is ‘to lose a part of ourselves’.
‘The resonance of printed books – their lineal structure, the demands they make on our attention – touches every corner of the world we’ve inherited. But online life makes me into a different kind of reader – a cynical one. I scrounge, now, for the useful fact; I zero in on the shareable link. My attention – and thus my experience – fractures. Online reading is about clicks, and comments, and points. ‘
This article is well worth the read – link below – (OK so it’s on screen) but comparing with our own ability to actually read A BOOK is a useful exercise especially for those born in the pre-internet era. Despite current attitudes from some sectors there was life before Google and the internet!
Michael Harris is the author of Solitude: A Singular Life in a Crowded World and The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We’ve Lost in an Age of Constant Connection