Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Lost Art of Reading
Why Books Matter in a Distracted Time
David L. Ulin - Sasquatch Books 2010

Reading is a revolutionary act. The siren calls of email, Twitter, smart phones, and iPods conspire to pull us away from the long-form writing of books. For David L. Ulin, this swelling problem (from which he is hardly immune) begged the question: does reading even matter anymore?...

I found this short pocket-sized book very pertinent. Personally I am lured away from reading my books by the internet There is YouTube, forums, Amazon; it is really an endless chain that takes me from one subject to another.

Some of my favorite reading genres are books about books, and books about authors or books about reading. These types of books tend to affect me much like the internet in that it piques my interest in another book that is being written about. So needless to say my wish-list on Amazon is quite large.

This book is about David's reading life mostly in a world before the internet. He writes about several books that has had an effect on him and equates them to events in his life. I like this snippet:

Time, however is the enemy in contemporary culture, less a source of context than constraint. We bridle against its limitations - not existentially but in far more prosaic terms - subdividing it into the merest bits and pieces, translating it into dollars gained or lost.
David does not demean the internet at all, it is not a tirade. It is just amazing how our brain works. It seems to thrive on the bits and pieces - to try to organize them into some continuum. Of course good books do that for us, but we have to pay attention to a single act for a long period of time. It is called concentration. It's hard work sometimes.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like such an interesting read.... I am definately going to add this one to my wish list... :-)