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December 13, 2005

Books

In Roxanne's comments, Angelica writes:

Too much of my disposable time is taken up blogging and watching TV. I love both dearly, but I can almost hear my attention span shrinking. After a long blogging session, trying to focus on a book can be like trying to climb up a slippery pole -- my eyeballs keep losing hold of the text after a few pages and my brain screams for something new, something new.

So true it makes me sick. I love the idea of reading books, but after 40 pages, it feels like I should be finished with three of them.

December 13, 2005 | Permalink

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Comments

That's an interesting observation. And as I am as obsessive a reader of both blogs and books as anyone, I'll offer this up. I think the only change is, I read fewer books now (sadly). I still enjoy them immensely and plow through most, non-stop, as I always have. But I spend so much time on the net now, I just spend less time overall reading.

Maybe I'm too old for that attention to get any shorter than it already is.

Posted by: ice weasel | Dec 13, 2005 6:52:58 PM

I found I was having the same problem for a long time, until I realized that I had lost the ability to pick out books that I liked to read. I felt all pressured when I would look around a bookstore, not wanting to get something too pretentious or boring or serious, and damn books are expensive. If a book is boring after 40 pages, you probably don't like it. Even if the information is good or you know that objectively, it's a good book, put it down and find something else.

Posted by: Sara | Dec 13, 2005 8:12:20 PM

Oh dear....part of my coming sabbatical from the working world was to be spent catching up on all those books on my shelves yet to be read......hope blogging hasn't permanently dented my already shaky attention span.

Posted by: Steve Mudge | Dec 13, 2005 8:53:50 PM

Maybe you're just reading the wrong books?

Posted by: Roxanne | Dec 13, 2005 8:58:35 PM

Roxanne,
I wish it were as simple as picking the right books. If it is, then it would not have taken me a hideous amount of time to finish Guns Germs and Steel -- it is as good as they say it is, and hardly a difficult read. Even as I bumbled through it twenty pages at a pop, I know that this is the kind of well-written, interesting material that I would have smoked in a solid afternoon if I can just concentrate.

The encouraging thing is, this is not an irreversable process. When I went back to Taiwan for a week a few months ago, and had no wireless internet access, I read plenty of books.

Yea, it is the wireless internet access coupled with the constantly updated, interactive nature of blogs that does me in. Settling down to read a book is like trying to eat vegetables when the packet of chips is right there.

Posted by: Battlepanda | Dec 13, 2005 9:32:58 PM

I have the same problem with political blogs only on top of I also pay attention to at least 20 webcomics that update at least weekly. It’s gotten so bad I don't even remember the character’s names in stories I read online/watch on the telly / or read in old-fashioned paper novels.

Posted by: rtaycher1987 | Dec 14, 2005 5:58:59 AM

BP, just because it's a good book doesn't mean you enjoy reading it. Or, that's the conclusion I've come to.

Though, it occurs to me that this problem might have to do with fiction and nonfiction. Nonfiction isn't as much about the enjoyment of the craft or the feel, but about what you want to know. When you're reading a nonfiction book, you have to learn everything in the order and in the way the author wants you to - you don't have to do that online. I don't remember the last time I read an entire nonfiction book, now that I'm thinking about it, but I can go through fiction no problem.

Posted by: Sara | Dec 14, 2005 4:59:53 PM

pretty much the only books i've been able to get through in the last year are 200page 'kids' books.

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