Eat, Read On Line, Blog, Die

By: pbcmedia

Jul 27 2008

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Category: 1, blogging, change, Culture, READING, technology


Focal Length:35mm
Shutter:1/0 sec
Camera:Canon EOS 10D

The NY Times this morning has a short video on a family of readers. Parents are voracious print readers. Children are voracious on line readers.

I used to be like the parents. Now, I’m like the kids.

Went from three newspapers a day at my door to none.

Laptop computer did that. Not the desk model. Can’t sit in bed with desk model. Don’t read newspapers anywhere else.

My grandfather had a middle name that began with the initial “H”. My father joked that it really meant “horizontal” because he used to do everything lying down: reading, talking on phone, entertaining visitors, writing.

Based on this behavior, I am a direct descendant.

Here’s my worry.

Newspapers are crapping out due to this little online switch millions of us have made.

I used to read one book at a time, one magazine at a time, and finish each one. I would come home after work on a Friday and take one big fat book and read it non-stop all weekend until I was finished. Loved it.

Now, I read several at a time. It takes me much longer ( I spend less time reading books as I have increased on line reading) and I don’t always finish them.

I wonder could I even sit down and read something straight through any more? Without checking email? Without writing a blog entry? Without perusing the net?

Is reading, as I once knew and loved it, dead like Mr. Mouse? Flies circling?

What about you? Are the flies buzzing around your reading habits, too?

©Pat Coakley 2008


16 comments on “Eat, Read On Line, Blog, Die”

  1. I still find it hard on the eyes to read a lot of text on a computer. I wish this wasn’t so because it would cut down on my consumption of trees.

    I guess that all through history there has been shifts in the way how we receive information.

    Once there was oral tradition with travelling story tellers. Then came heralds and town criers but of course print just about put an end to that. Then came radio and TV, etc ad infinitum.

    I once read somewhere that the information contained in a week’s worth of a quality broadsheet newspaper contains more information than what most people in the 1700s were exposed to for the whole of their lives.

    I suppose that in the near future the same thing will be said about the internet.

    Maybe the newspapers are like the mouse and the internet is like the fly.

    Poor mouse, happy fly.

  2. Since I’m obviously, on this Sunday morning, trembling to be the first comment on your blog, the assumption is that if I wasn’t so absorbed by what’s here, I’d be reading a paper!

    OK, so I tell myself that we don’t have re-cycling here on St.Croix and the less newspaper I generate, the less waste, but the truth is, I really prefer getting it all here. It’s how I’ve become wired to respond.

    Used to be the saying ” those who have the most toys when they die, wins”.
    I’m changing that to:
    ” Those who have the most thoughts when they die, wins “.

    Could be you, Miss P, could be you.
    Just don’t do it for a long long time.
    We need you out here.

  3. Razz, that is interesting to take the long view. The transitions of communication over time. My fear is that the hyperlink has reinforced not sustaining attention on one thing long enough to really think about the content. I went for a walk after posting this morning and decided I wasn’t going to go online at all today and just finish my book and start another!

    So, how’s that going, so far, you ask? Here I am writing this.

    Bonnie L: let’s go back to the first saying about most toys. I’m winning that death sweepstakes without question with that criterion. My favorite day of the week occurs when UPS is delivering another little or big box from B&H photo in NY!!
    Seriously, I am worried about this along the lines I just said to Razz. I think I’m going to have to try and control it a bit more. We’ll see, won’t we. First attempt? Dismal, pitiful failure. Didn’t last two minutes from coming in the door.

    I’m going to today to get a few oil paints and brushes!!

  4. So much of my reading these days is of the skimming variety. I get a book, read the parts that interest me, and then move on, reshelving the book as a valuable resource. Of course, that only applies to non-fiction. I try to read fiction until it’s finished. Perhaps that’s why the last novel I read was . . . it’ll come to me . . . nope, i had to take that one back to the library . . . oh, darn!

  5. Now I remember! It was a short story by Michel Faber titled “The Fahrenheit Twins.” And then there was Fahrenheit 451. Coincidence? You decide. I also just finished The Odyssey. My son has to read it for freshman English, so I joined him.

    I knew it would come to me . . .

  6. Tysdaddy, this is exactly what I mean! Non fiction easily adapts to this bits and pieces thing. But, fiction really does not. And, I, too have read less fiction. And, you know what? After spending five hours straight finishing my fiction book yesterday, I feel a blog comin’ on. There is a presence in your head after a great fiction book that is not replicated any other way than simply living in the fiction world for a sustained period of time. Now, should I blog about this or start reading another fiction book? Ah, that is the question.

  7. I agree – I’ve definitely decreased my consumption of fiction in lieu of time spent reading online. My news awareness has probably increased, but the more creative sources are suffering as a result. Yes, before someone says it, many news sources could be classed as fictional.

    In an odd twist, I found an application for the iPhone called Stanza – lets you download (free) and read the classics. I’m well into Anna Karenina…on my 4″ screen.

  8. Mt. Brooks! I’m going to dowload that app today! I;ll put it next to Bloomberg News! You mentioned on your site that you were switching over to a custom wordpress site. What does that mean?

  9. I have reduced my book reading time but not my book purchasing habits! I live among piles of unread books and I figure that one of these days, I’ll get to them. The problem is that instead of selecting a few from the piles for a long trip for example, I’ll pick one, get to the airport, and buy 4 or 5 more.

    I could never read fiction in any other form. I love books, I love to hold them in my hands, take them everywhere, and annotate them. Anne Karenina on an iPhone? Not for me! Razz is probably right about the fly, but you don’t teach an old dog new trick and I’ll keep the agonizing mouse alive as long as I can.

    I do not think that blogging has in any way replaced book reading. I think that the addictive part about blogging is the immediate communication it fosters, the personal creativity it encourages, and the exchange of ideas. If people could post but were not allowed to comment, I don’t think we would spend nearly as much time online. It’s not about the reading, it’s about the social interaction.

  10. I agree with Nat about blogging. That’s my take to a “T”.

    As for reading, babies killed my reading habits. My largest, once full bookcase has been emptied and moved into my son’s room and covered in clothes and toys. The one time inhabitants are now piled up on their sides in the corner of my room. Not too handy if you want one from the bottom. Fortunately (?) I don’t get much of a chance to scan through them anyway.

    BTW, I never buy the paper. I get my news on line and from radio. The only lament that I will have if papers go the way of the dodo, is that news stories will simply vanish when no longer news worthy. I love old news papers.

    -Turkish Prawn

  11. I’ve never read a book online and probably never will. A novel is to be possessed, held, and consumed in physical form. Each novel has it’s own quirks and character. Dogeared, scratched, stained, or faded; a novel is more than words, it’s a chunk of your life that gets mingled into the area of the brain where fact and fiction are blurred.

    The mouse is still in the house.

  12. I hate when I make a rookie grammatical error :( its not it’s

    note: if there are any others, please edit them :)

  13. I think there’s going to be a part II to this blog content as this subject fascinates me. I, like Nat, keep buying more books, or taking more out of the library, and I’m challenging Kuala Lumpur for highest book pile. And library fees.

    But, No Anna Karenina on IPHONE for you, Nat? How about “Kuma Satra” on IPHONE. It’s there, ready to be downloaded when and where that Cialis moment hits you! Ooops, that’s my age group, not yours! Sorry.

    I just downloaded the app. Seriously, it’s free! And if I don’t read it, it won’t be tilting dangerously next to my bed.

    Turkish, I love old news papers, too. I did a collage of Andrea Doria newspapers several years ago that I found in the recesses of the Cape house. I fear that the demise of newspapers is going to lead to the demise of investigative journalism in newspapers as well as TV.

    Stories like the sexual abuse in the archdiocese of Boston and the Catholic Church worldwide took a long time to put together and to nail down. Without that, what? Who’s going to do it?

    Planet R, I love how you said that a novel is more than words, “it’s a chunk of your life that gets mingled into the area of the brain where fact and fiction are blurred.”
    Yup, that’s what I felt yesterday and have been missing.

    And, amen, Nat. Nail on head about the power of blogging. It is the community created.

    Now, I’m going to go back out to the path where I saw that dead mouse and see if I can put him on some type of life support system.

  14. Sadly I am a book addict and although I haven’t really read much in the last few weeks I generally read a book a week – can’t help reading fast just the torch batteries die right at the climax… oh wells
    Please tell me that photo is photoshopped please I beg you, lie to me…

  15. Um, no. Sanity. No photoshop on this one, I’m afraid. But, he led a good life. You’d know I was lying if I said he was just posing for me, wouldn’t you?

  16. Well just so long as Stuart doesn’t find out that his Uncle has passed on then we’ll be fine…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: