Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Reading Lessons

I was reading Ronni Bennett’s blog this morning and I can certainly relate to the subject. She was complaining about the fact that she was having a hard time staying focused while reading. There were lots of reasons given; television and the internet being the two obvious ones.

When it comes to the internet, I’m all over it, literally. I read everything and, just as she points out, I skim the pages. So I guess ‘everything isn’t the operative word here.

Television is history. We turned it off a year or so ago. There was nothing to watch. But, before our exit, the remote got a workout as we/I skimmed the channels looking for something; anything!

Newspapers aren’t much better at holding interest. And I’m certain that it is all by design. Duh! It’s advertising; those who pay for it want your attention. Imagine a newspaper with all of the ads on the last two pages…four pages. Six pages? And what part would you read?

We’re in a quandary here; it’s the 21st century (Maybe not on the Planet Orland) and I wouldn’t want the internet to disappear or to return to its primitive ‘text only’ beginnings. And sometimes I think that television can be revived. It had such great promise and PBS still delivers some of what is great about the medium. But one channel out of 200 means that there is a long way to go. I’ve given up on newspapers. They are in the midst of re-inventing themselves and I may return when they get it figured out. In the meantime I skim the world’s newspapers on line.

Ah, but books; that’s another matter all together. Since I’ve gone back to books, I’ve found that my attention to the printed word has increased dramatically. I can get lost in a good book, just as I did when I was a child. I sometimes re-read a well written paragraph just for the pleasure of it. And then read it again. This brings me to the subject of my current favorite book, The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. A great book and one that I thought I might be quoting in my blog. But there’s too much ‘good stuff’ in it. I can’t decide on the parts I want to share. So I don’t. You need to read it yourself.

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