We’ve talked a lot about how the web has affected our reading habits, and for the most part I’d have to agree with what Nicholas Carr is saying. I wouldn’t go so far as to say the internet is making us stupid (cuz I’m smart as shit), but I have definitely noticed my own reading tendencies taking a dip. It’s not that I can’t read anymore, it’s that I don’t.
I remember when I was a young kid, probably in middle school, I would run through Harry Potter books in a matter of days. I would read them for hours on end, I probably finished at least one of them in less than 24 hours. Then one day, after reading the first four books like a full-fledged Hogwarts addict, I just stopped reading them. Had no interest in continuing Harry’s journey. Now this could be because I suddenly realized going into high school that reading Harry Potter books wasn’t very cool (then those damn movies came out and made them cool again and suddenly I’m the loser who hasn’t seen the Harry Potter movies. Well, I watched the first one and it sucked. I’m sticking by that), but after reading Carr I decided I’m going to blame it on the internet. It can’t be a coincidence that I stopped reading novels around the same age I started cruising the world wide web.
So although reading novels for pleasure is pretty much a thing of the past for Little, I have to say that when it comes down to business, I can still read big wordy literature if I have to. In fact, almost as if to prove Carr wrong, I went home and read a Sherlock Holmes novel for class for 5 straight hours. I can’t imagine doing this in my free time, but since it had to be done I made it happen. So I would argue that the internet hasn’t actually harmed our ability to read at length, it more likely harmed our desire to.