This electronic article, “Page by page, a good book can rewire your brain“, was posted at SFGate today by Mark Morford. Morford discusses the fall of book reading and how the Internet contributes to that fall.
I travel in book reading circles and activities, such as attending the L.A. Times Festival of Books. Reading may be declining, but there were thousands of people there that weekend. You wouldn’t have guessed that book reading was in trouble that weekend. It’s also rare that I don’t have two or three books going at a time (right now it’s four).
I see Morford’s point, though. There are times I have to put down my book and get on the computer just because. I may not being doing anything special (playing a game, catching up on my email, etc) or I may be working or writing this blog or adding a new review at my web site.
In the middle of the article Morford gives reading some hope:
“Ah, but I do believe all is not lost. There is lingering hope…
“I can personally attest. About a year ago the most astounding thing happened: The hard drive on my MacBook suffered a rare and painful meltdown when I was away on vacation. I was, much to my initial horror, to be e-mail/Net-free for over a week…
“Mercifully, the yoga kicked in and I quickly shrugged, sighed, noted the incredible opportunity, the gods trying to tell me to unplug. I hit the bookstore and bought three thick, sticky literary novels the way a misguided vegan buys some grass-fed steaks for the first time, and devoured them whole.
“As I did so, an amazing thing happened. Time slowed down. The brain quickly returned to its normal breathing. The mental seizures and the near-constant desire to click away and leap to something different faded and soon vanished. And books suddenly moved from the bottom of the intellectual priority list straight back to their original, top-tier state of grace.”