With the rise of the internet, and blogs, and Twitter, and Facebook, more people are reading more things.
But there’s “reading” and there’s “reading.”
Short-form reading is up, long-form reading is down.
That’s my sense of things. There probably is a study out there about it. Would someone do me a favor and summarize the findings in 140 characters, so I don’t actually have to read it? You can send it to me at @leginsurrection.
Here are ruminations from Yaacov Lozowick, Re-learning to Read:
In recent months I’ve been teaching myself to read – or perhaps, re-teaching, since I used to know but forgot. By reading I don’t mean the technical ability to recognize letters and the sounds they represent, and thereby to construct conversations, ideas, or whatever nonsense people write. That ability I never lost. The one I did, however, was the ability to take a book and sit and read it, page after page, perhaps even hour after hour. That art I lost sometime during the past decade or two, as I put all my reading abilities into reading stuff on glass screens, and then reading shorter stuff on smaller glass screens, and then skimming over stuff on other glass screens.
Blogs, say. Or Tweets. At least I never started using Facebook.
So it hasn’t been easy, re-learning what I used to know. Back in the Old Times I used to read all the time, everywhere. I’d take two books onto an airplane, and six or eight of them to the first week of reserve duty. I would stand in lines in official ministries, reading. Buses? Reading. banks? Reading. I often read three or four books simultaneously. And then I lost the ability, and for a while didn’t even notice. Then I did notice but brushed it aside. Until eventually I realized that reading from glass screens – unless perhaps it be Kindle type screens which I never tried – was a form of making oneself dumb. True, just about everyone else was doing the same, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t getting dumber, even if it was a communal project.
So I tried to reverse the tide. It wasn’t easy. For a while it was a physical effort. But eventually the effort began paying dividends, as efforts often do. Recently it has even been getting easier, and of course, worthier.
(One thing you should be reading is the blog of the Israel State Archives, run by Yaacov Lozowick.)DONATE
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.