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The Lost Art of Reading

15 Oct

Dear readers (Hi, FBI!), I am a bibliophile. I know, this is a shocking revelation.

What is more shocking, however, is the second part of my confession: I am a lapsed bibliophile.

Readers, I have forgotten how to read.

—–

*fanning readers* There, there, I’m sorry, I should have prepared you better. Told you to sit down. Gotten you a paper bag to breathe into. Fortunately I happened to have this handy-dandy fainting couch right here…

Pro tip: Make sure ‘safe search’ is on before searching for images of fainting couches.

So, now that you’re comfortably settled on my splendid bordello furnishings, I will explain.

I am, of course, quite capable of reading, in the sense that I can see a word written in English and understand the meaning. I can fathom whole sentences, even. And infer the meaning of words I do not yet know, based on the context in which they are used. Sometimes I can even do this in Spanish. So yes, I can read.

But I’m not so good at reading.

I find it increasingly difficult to just sit somewhere with a book for an hour and read straight through. I used to spend whole days reading; now it’s difficult to make myself read a chapter before bed each night. I just don’t have the focus.

Hell, I have trouble focusing on writing for more than about ten minutes at a time. It’s a problem.

I suspect this lack of focus is due primarily to the interwebs and television. No, I’m not going to go into a Luddite rant about the evils of technology. I happen to be very fond of both the interwebs and television. But they’ve trained my brain to fragment – to constantly be hopping from website to website, to play a game while listening to music, to knit while watching a string of television episodes. It’s actually quite hard for me to focus my attention on doing just one thing. I’ve stopped this paragraph no fewer than four times to stare around the room because I have that much trouble focusing.

Readers, I find this worrying.

Don’t get me wrong; I like to multitask. And there are times when it’s very useful to be able to do three things at once, like when I’m trying to grade homework and answer student questions and consult my supervisor all at the same time.

But there are times when it is important to be able to focus on a single task, and these days I’m just not that good at it. I have trouble reading a book; I’m not as aware when I’m driving; my mind wanders when I’m working through a problem with a student. I’ve lost the self-discipline necessary to shoulder past the mind’s initial tendency to wander and sink into a deeper contemplation of just one thing.

Readers, this is Not Good.

But do not fear! I have a plan! A PLN, even!

I solemnly swear that I am up to no good will spend at least one hour reading a book each day. I’m only working half-time, so I don’t think this is an unreasonable goal.

To further this endeavor, and because I wanted something like my Ravelry queue, only for books, I joined Goodreads. You can find me there as Myriad, and keep an eye on my reading progress (or lack thereof). If, you know, you make a habit of stalking people’s bookshelves. For the record, I do. A lot. Seriously, I wouldn’t dare peek in your medicine cabinet, but I will stick my nose into each and every book you own. In case you were thinking of inviting me over.

Fair warning: I’ve already wasted three hours finding books I’ve read or want to read or own or authors I like or… Which is a bit like when I first joined Ravelry, actually; my knitting slowed down because I was distracted by the pretty patterns. Sigh. I will endeavor to keep reading despite the temptation of all the pretty books. They even have a recommendations feature, although I think I need to get more of my have-read books in there before it starts giving me things I actually want to read.

Best recommendation so far:

Fired from her job, exhausted from her miserable Boston commute, the last thing Deana Jones needed when she got home was to find an alien in her living room. But how else to explain the magnificent man who claimed he was from beyond the stars? He said that his name was Lorgin and that she was part of his celestial destiny. Deana thought his reasoning was ridiculous, and she knew he was making an error of cosmic proportions. But his touch was electric and his arms strong, and when she first felt the sizzling impact of his uncontrollable desire, Deana started to wonder if maybe their passion wasn’t written in the stars.

There is so much fantastic hideousness going on here, I don’t even know where to start. It’s an incredible specimen of the fabulously horrible. I may actually have to read it. For, you know, science. Or something.

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5 Comments

Posted by on 15.10.2012 in Books

 

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5 responses to “The Lost Art of Reading

  1. mitukagome

    15.10.2012 at 6:43 pm

    If you get that book, I may have to also read it. For you know, science. Or, an anthropological study of bibliophiles and such things.

    Also, I bought a book for three bucks with every intention of giving it to you when I finished it. Well, I went to bed at 1:30 last night despite it being a school night, so you may now have it. It is smut. Not gonna even try to cover that up, there. The man’s name is Rafe. Which I think is intentionally one letter away from rake. It’s historical smut. Regency smut, anyway.

     
    • Myriad

      15.10.2012 at 7:00 pm

      Hooray, smut! And yes, we must acquire this book. For science.

       
  2. Deborah the Closet Monster

    15.10.2012 at 10:46 pm

    I just added you! I haven’t read much the last couple of months, but I am starting to get back on track . . .

     
    • Myriad

      16.10.2012 at 10:22 am

      Yay I have a friend! 🙂 Hopefully we can both find some time to curl up with good books.

       

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