The lost art of reading

Why would a life-time lover of books suddenly discover that he's having trouble sitting down to read? "It isn't a failure of desire so much as one of will," writes David Ulin, book editor of the Los Angeles Times. "Or not will, exactly, but focus: the ability to still my mind long enough to inhabit someone else's world, and to let that someone else inhabit mine."

You can blame the Internet. At least, Ulin does. A contemplative state, he writes, "is increasingly elusive in our over-networked culture, in which every rumor and mundanity is blogged and tweeted."

Ulin's words may sound uncomfortably familiar to many. Even late at night, he says, when his wife and children are asleep – once his favorite reading time – he now finds it hard to get quiet enough to sink deeply into a book.

"I pick up a book and read a paragraph," he writes, and "then my mind wanders and I check my e-mail, drift onto the Internet, pace the house before returning to the page. Or I want to do these things but don't. I force myself to remain still, to follow whatever I'm reading until the inevitable moment I give myself over to the flow. Eventually I get there, but some nights it takes 20 pages to settle down. What I'm struggling with is the encroachment of the buzz, the sense that there is something out there that merits my attention, when in fact it's mostly just a series of disconnected riffs and fragments that add up to the anxiety of the age."

You can read Ulin's whole piece here although be forewarned: It may bring on an immediate impulse to deactivate your Facebook page.

Share this story:

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK