Archive for the ‘Reading’ Category

Yes, Virginia, there is a difference

Make no mistake: I love my E-readers. All three of them. I have an iPhone, an iPad, and an Amazon Fire Tablet.Between them I have a library of over 3,000 books. I devour books the way children devour ice cream and cake at birthday parties.But my living space?—and therefore my storage space?—is limited to a single room. Ergo, E-books and E-readers.

Vive le différence?

But lately I’ve discovered a problem, and it has to do with the differences between reading a printed book and an E-book.

When I’m reading a printed book, I can spend hours in my comfortable chair, only stirring to brew a fresh cup of tea or, as a result thereof, heading into the loo to download the same.

I love the smell of printed pages. I love the feel. And I especially love the ability to leaf back to earlier pages to see if I missed something.

But…

I also love being able to carry my entire library in my purse. I love being able to conduct research whilst riding on the bus. And I love being able to finally finish my latest who-done-it sitting in the waiting area of my doctor’s office.

But but but…

Lately I’m finding that reading a mystery, a science text, or any kind of book at all on my iPhone gives me headaches.

My iPod is better, but here’s the really big thing: it’s exhausting to read my E-books. Where I can tear through five or six chapters of the printed page, I can barely get through a half of a chapter of an E-book.

And that’s strange, because I always adjust the text size on my E-readers so that it’s larger than it is on the printed page.

Does it have something to do with the fact that the printed word is reflected into my eyes, while E-text is beamed into them? But even that is questionable: I have no problem bingeing on Netflix for hours at a time.

And I can spend more than half a chapter’s worth of time composing a story for Medium on my iPhone.

It’s a mystery

One that may well fall under the rubric of religion: “There are some mysteries man was not meant to solve.”

But like young Jim Hawkins, I won’t rest until I’ve found the secret treasure. Perhaps then the mystery may be resolved.


NOTE: I’m sure there’s already a scientific or medical answer that I can easily find. But when have any of us let facts get in the way of a good story?

Originally published on Medium.com

Medium is not Facebook

Posted: 27 August, 2018 in Medium, Reading
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(I’ve written before about Medium; you can find the posts here and here.)

But why do I treat it as if it were?

A funny thing happened on the way to my breakup with Facebook. No, I’m not talking about the fact that today, more than two weeks after I told them to delete my account, it’s still active.

I’m talking about the ways I’ve been noticing how Facebook influenced?—?and still does?—?almost every aspect of my life.

Facebook makes it easy to be superficial. Read a friend’s post and like it? Just hit the LIKE button and move on. Between Facebook and the nightly “news,” my attention span has been drastically reduced.

As has my critical thinking.

How I used to read Medium

It was rather like Facebook: scroll down the latest stories, click on an interesting headline, read the story and give it a few claps. Then move on.

But today I realized that isn’t fair to the author?—?or to myself. Reading stories this way is the Facebookization (if I may coin a word) of Medium.

So I’m trying a new way of reading stories in Medium. Oh, I’ll still click on headlines that interest me, or stories my authors I follow, but that’s where things change: I’ll read more slowly, interspersed with sips of tea or hits on my vaper (yes, I finally said “goodbye” to tobacco). And I won’t give it any claps, at least not on the first reading. Yes, I’ll still highlight passages that caught my attention, or that I think require greater comment.

Instead, I’ll add the story to my reading list and reread it later. Maybe that say day, maybe the next, but not until I’ve had time to think about what I’ve read.

Authors spend a lot of time and put a lot of thought into their stories; the very least I can do is give them as much time and thought as they did.

I guess it started in the second grade. That’s when I realized that I had an unusual talent: I could read out loud better than most of the others in my class. So much better, in fact, that when it was time for reading class, Miss Sullivan would hand me a book and send me down the hall to read the book to the kindergarten class.

That was when I realized that I had a problem: I was addicted to books.

As I grew older, the problem worsened. A typical day in high school would find me in the library after school, devouring book after book, desperately trying to slake my thirst.

Novels were my drug of choice, although a good story line, like that in "Cyborg," would send me to the encyclopedia, where I would search to see if the plot was reasonably accurate. (Incidentally, that book, written by Martin Caidin, was the basis for the hit television series, "The Six Million Dollar Man.")

I think I read the entire Sherlock Holmes canon in two afternoons.

The Fault, Dear Brutus

The fault lay not in my stars but rather in my genes. My mother was a genius who could read an entire novel on the subway ride from Hunter College to her home on Kingsland Avenue in The Bronx, and I inherited her love of reading.

Couple that with the grandparents who had bestowed on me the entire My Little Golden Books library, along with a doting aunt whose favorite gifts at birthdays and other gift-giving occasions were books, and I didn’t stand a chance.

No, I’m not blaming them for my addiction. At worst, they were merely enablers. I and I alone am responsible for my inability to cope without the crutch a good book furnishes.

And now it seems I’ve passed my addiction on to my daughters, one of whom seems determined to pass it on in turn to her children.

How To Tell If YOU Are An Addict

It isn’t hard, but if you’re not sure, let me direct your attention to this page.

Here’s another clue:

dream home

This is all you think about when you picture your “dream home.”

Well, I’ve got to close for now: it’s almost time for my bookaholics support group meeting…at the city library.

Robyn