The experience of reading only one good book for a while, and allowing its themes to resonate in the mind, is what we risk losing. When I was younger I would carry a single book around with me for days, letting its ideas splash around in my head, not forming an instant judgment (for or against) but allowing the book to sit for a while, as the rest of the world had its say – the countryside or pavement, the crowd or train carriage, the armchair or lunch counter. Sometimes, human beings need time to think things through, to allow themselves to entertain a thought before committing to it.
The white noise of the ever-faster information highway may, one fears, be preventing this. The still, small voice of calm that refreshes a civilisation may be in the process of being snuffed out by myriad distractions.
And on Slate, Michael Aggar looks at the way people read online - bullet points, bold fonts, short sentences and paragraphs, lists ...
- When we like a text, we read more slowly.
- When we're really engaged in a text, it's like being in an effortless trance.
- Ludic (pleasure) reading can be achieved on the Web, but the environment works against you.