I’ve been reading a lot of good books lately. Some kept my attention better than others though. I just finished Tina Fey’s hit autobiography, Bossypants. It has been awhile since I’ve laughed out loud so much while reading a book. I highly recommend this one.
After reading an article about how distractions from social media and YouTube have changed the nature of reading, it made me realize how true that is just from observing my own recent reading habits. The whole social media is distracting concept is not new, but sometimes we just have to be reminded how much of a time suck it really is.
I have always been a voracious reader. I used to could lie on a couch immersed in a book, or in more recent years, my Kindle, for hours on end. I have always liked how the e-ink Kindle has managed to continue to create a quality, relatively distraction free reading experience. Enter the iPhone, and later the iPad and those days were mostly gone.
Books don’t grab my attention like they used to. I’m finding that it is harder and harder for me to focus on one book for a length of time. Even with one as good as Bossypants, I was still mindlessly checking my email or Facebook every so often.
So what will instant access to other forms of media do to reading? It has and will continue to become more fragmented. Twitter has introduced the idea of saying what you need to say in just 140 characters. We go in to get what we want, and move on. The good thing about this is that more people than ever before have access to information. Most people are reading something, even if it is just blog articles. So, this is a big step in the right direction for literacy efforts.
With that said, I do hope that good books hold their charm for years to come. There are times when our overstimulated brains just need a break from the mindless social media checking. I sometimes like to leave everything behind and go sit in a park on a nice day and just read. Hide your phone, or revoke your Kindle Fire’s wi-fi access, and escape into another reality for awhile.