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July 7, 2008 / chrisisgross

Does Anyone Read Anymore?

Recently, I’ve been doing a lot more reading than I have in the last few years. By a lot more I mean  that I am reading more fiction since I’ve always been a voracious reader of periodicals and the web, but with my recent bout of extended free time I am really using my library privileges, to the point where I am reading a book a week.

What surprises me is that reading is going way down. Scanning seems to be the means by which we are getting our information. As I was reading in The Atlantic Monthly, we are now a culture of skimmers. Nicholas Carr unpacks the idea that by reading so many online sources we are losing the ability to read in a comparative analytical way. He also mentions how hyperlinks have changed his focus from finding sources and thoroughly researching them to just moving to the source and gleaning the pertinent information from it.

As a literature major with a BA in English I have prided myself in my close reading abilities. Yet, in the last few years my fiction consumption has dwindled. It has only been in the last 6 months that I am yearning to read as I used to. I have fallen prey to reading snippets.

Apparently, I am now in a small minority, when it comes to reading.  As Nick Hornby writes on the Penguin Books blog, about the advent of the Kindle and other e-readers, books are objects that will always have a place, but there place has been substantially diminished. The marketplace is not interested in the newest title and those that are seem to be branded as Luddites(at least by Hornby).

Who else who reads this blog still reads books?

Let me know in the comments if you are reading and  what you are reading.

Full disclosure: I did end up scanning some of my sources, I did read the Atlantic Monthly article last night before I went to bed.

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2 Comments

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  1. Audrey / Jul 18 2008 12:22 pm

    Sadly reading is going way down, but I am not surprised at all. It’s part of the super tech minded times we live in. Reading, getting outside, yada yada, its all on the decline.

    I’ve always loved reading, and SF libraries make it so easy! I’m originally from San Diego and our libraries were not quite as awesome on the ease of use front. Here its request a book online, have it sent to a library near you, pick it up and there you go. I love it.

    Lately I have been trying to crank out a book a week and its been awesome. And that’s reading, not skimming, I promise.

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