Have you forgotten how to read?

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!

Article Link

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


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One more off the list

Just completed another tome in my ever-growing collection – A God in Ruins (Black Swan) – another of Kate Atkinson’s novels. It was a Costa Novel Award winner for 2015. This I enjoyed much more that her Life After Life. It traces the life of one of her characters from her previous book but this time I felt the narrative rolled out much better – it’s even a novel I’d read again if I ever have the time. So many of the people she portrays are ones I certainly recognise, ones that I’ve met over the years. Worth saying that the novel stands on its own, so if you’ve not read Life After Life it won’t matter.

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Costa Book Winner

Perhaps a little on the late side, but I’m delighted to see the late poet and author Helen Dunmore won the 2017 Costa Book of the Year.

Inside the Wave, Dunmore’s tenth collection, explores the borderline between the living and the dead – the underworld and the living world – and includes her final poem, ‘Hold out your arms’, written shortly before her death in June 2017, aged 64.  The award, a cheque for £30,000, was accepted by her son Patrick Charnley from Dominic Paul, managing director of Costa.

Wendy Holden, chair of the final judges, said: “We all felt this is a modern classic; a fantastic collection, life affirming and uplifting. The poems carry powerful messages that speak to all of us.”

A final judging panel included contributing editor to British Vogue, Laura Bailey; author and presenter, Fern Britton; actor Art Malik; BBC presenter and journalist Sophie Raworth; writers Piers Torday, Freya North and Simon Garfield; and poet Moniza Alvi.

Poetry has a strong record in the Costa Book Awards. Inside the Wave (Bloodaxe Books), is the eighth collection of poetry to take the overall prize. Helen Dunmore is the second writer to take the overall prize posthumously in the Award’s 46-year history. Ted Hughes won in 1998 for Birthday Letters.

Luan Goldie wins Short Story Award

Primary school teacher and former business journalist, Luan Goldie from Newham in East London, won the public vote and £3,500 for her story, Two Steak Bakes and Two Chelsea Buns.

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