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I don’t read too good no more

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.

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7 thoughts on “I don’t read too good no more

  1. I agree with this. The internet has only maybe made us feel like we don’t HAVE to read long novels anymore. It doesn’t make us less intelligent. We still can read these long novels, but the internet gives us an option to read selectively if we so choose.

  2. I wrote about Carr’s novel too, so I’m curious if you find it difficult to read scholarly articles that may have been assigned for a class or online news articles. I don’t seem to have a problem reading novels, but really struggle staying interested in assigned scholarly readings. I agree with what you said in the first paragraph. I think people still have the capacity to absorb and understand what they are reading, but no longer feel like making the effort.

    Also, any chance you’ve seen the BBC show “Sherlock”? I recommend it if you enjoyed the book you read for class.

    • Good point about being able to read at length interesting vs. non-interesting articles or what have you. To answer your question, yes I do have a hard time reading scholarly articles that don’t interest me. I’m sure this is a pretty widespread problem though and would imagine its plagued uninterested readers far before the internet came along. Now they’re just easier to assign. Ugh.

      And yes, after reading that book I watched the first two episodes of “Sherlock” and I found it quite awesome. I don’t know if you’ve read much Sherlock yourself (guessing you have since you made the recommendation) but it’s great how much they’ve managed to pull directly from the source and set it in modern times. A great counter to those Guy Ritchie films (no opinion either way there, only saw the first one and had literally no reaction when it was over. It just kinda happened). I can tell from your mention of The Wire on your blog that you got some good TV tastes (Best. Show. EVAH.)

  3. amylynnfiore on said:

    The last line of your post could not have send it better. “So I would argue that the internet hasn’t actually harmed our ability to read at length, it more likely harmed our desire too.” This pretty much summarizes how I currently feel about reading. I was never a “reader,” never liked to read and rarely ever did. I mean I’m a very well rounded person and literate of course, but when it comes to reading- there is absolutely no desire. I envy people now-a-days who can sit down, aside from a hectic lifestyle and just read for leisure. If only I had the time…….. This brings me to ask myself, is lengthy reading over-rated, or am I just becoming even more lazy than I already am??!!

    • Lengthy reading overrated fo sho. Thank you for defending your literacy here; I believe you! Also, thank you for pointing out my own illiteracy by my spelling of “desire to” as “desire too.” Fixed it!

  4. seansakdiponephong on said:

    I definitely agree with you about how the internet harms our desire to read lengthy articles. It kind of sucks now a days when I can only read the first two paragraph of article without thinking about the time it takes to read the rest. Like the articels we have to read in this class, yeah they’re interesting but I could barely make it through half of it before I started drifting away to other websites. Its just a shame how only the most interesting articles/novel capture my attention. Shits weak, but nice job pointing it out

  5. I think you bring up a good point about how some people just aren’t interested in reading anymore. It may not be because they “can’t” read lengthy texts anymore, but it’s because they just don’t want to. I would argue against you and say that the internet has made us impatient and too distracted to read huge books, but I’m also just a prick. Plus, we’re too distracted and impatient because we usually don’t care what we’re reading about, so now I’m supporting your point again.

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