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posted by n1 on Sunday June 15 2014, @03:39AM   Printer-friendly
from the tl;dr dept.

Tim Gray, writing in the New York Reviews of Books, has a very interesting article that asks whether it has become impossible to find the uninterrupted blocks of time that are needed to read serious works of literature, and whether the change in the reading environment is also changing how books are written.

Ordinarily I ignore the "Computer Bad! Destroy Society!" arguments, but I have to say that what he describes seems all too familiar. I can't recall the last time that I actually sat down for two or three hours just to read.

I grew up spending hours each day, every day devouring books of all sorts. Is this a thing that's lost to people raised with Internet, Game Consoles, and Smartphones? Pardon me if I sound like an old fart.

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  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 15 2014, @03:49AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 15 2014, @03:49AM (#55478)

    They have books on computers now.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 15 2014, @04:08AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 15 2014, @04:08AM (#55487)

      I used to have a stack of books on top of my old 19" screens, and a good few on the case itself. I find that laptops and flat screens can't hold the books up as well, so I can't put books on my computer anymore. :)

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by shortscreen on Sunday June 15 2014, @06:01AM

      by shortscreen (2252) on Sunday June 15 2014, @06:01AM (#55511) Journal

      The last several books I've read were all ebooks on my laptop. I'm no stranger to spending hours in front of a computer screen, and I would say it's easier than holding a paper book open anyway.

      • (Score: 2) by VLM on Sunday June 15 2014, @12:17PM

        by VLM (445) on Sunday June 15 2014, @12:17PM (#55576)

        Something I don't miss at all about "that older tech news site" is it was infested with astroturfers especially e-ink astro turfers such that "real men stare at a screen and read source code for 18 hour days, but a glance at english language text will somehow make their eyes explode Indiana Jones-style". The irony of posting that in English on a website for reading was always lost on them. I hope they made a lot of money from dumb PR departments, however annoying they were.

        Usually followed closely by "my moms basement has a flipped over 5 gallon bucket to sit on and a 40 watt light bulb hanging from the wires on Mom's basement ceiling so that means no one can comfortably read, because I can't". Now that e-ink is pretty much dead we might get some sanity, at least temporarily. Maybe the astroturfing will switch to "retina displays".

        Another good astro-turf meme was ereader apps and kindle app and amazons store are all the same, all one merged together thing and no alternatives are thinkable much less trivially implementeable, trying to create a confuseopoly to push an idea.

        • (Score: 2, Insightful) by My Silly Name on Sunday June 15 2014, @01:41PM

          by My Silly Name (1528) on Sunday June 15 2014, @01:41PM (#55594)
          Another good astro-turf meme was ereader apps and kindle app and amazons store are all the same, all one merged together thing and no alternatives are thinkable much less trivially implementeable, trying to create a confuseopoly to push an idea.

          I guess that might depend on your point of view. This meme seems to apply (IMO) more in the realm of Linux distros, in the form of a tedious assumption that everybody runs Ubuntu. While there are many who assume that ereaders==kindle devices, there seems to be a healthy number of users of other alternatives.

          I buy ebooks from a variety of sources (according to availability or price) when they are not in the public domain, but I have a policy of stripping any DRM out of them before I transfer them to my (in my case, Sony) ereader. I have read enough horror stories of vendors (i.e. Amazon) yanking content back after purchase.

          Furthermore, the default formatting of publications from the vendor often (usually, in fact) leaves a lot to be desired, so I prefer to tweak them with Sigil [wikipedia.org] before transferring them to my device via Calibre [calibre-ebook.com]. (Yes, I know we can now edit books with the latter, but I have become accustomed to Sigil, which works well for me.)
        • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Sunday June 15 2014, @05:20PM

          by HiThere (866) Subscriber Badge on Sunday June 15 2014, @05:20PM (#55625) Journal

          My empirical study (i.e., my experience) is that I don't like to read more than a page or so of text on a screen, whereas 500 pages in a book isn't daunting. OTOH, I'm talking about computer, not an e-book reader. I understand that those are a very different experience, though I've never got into the habit of using one. (Most of the books I read aren't available as e-books, and I'd worry about permanence. Many of my books are over a decade old.)

          --
          Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
        • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 15 2014, @06:42PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 15 2014, @06:42PM (#55642)

          The irony of posting that in English on a website for reading was always lost on them

          To be fair many of them don't appear to read properly or at all - whether it's the articles, summary or comments. ;)

        • (Score: 1) by archshade on Wednesday June 18 2014, @09:55AM

          by archshade (3664) on Wednesday June 18 2014, @09:55AM (#56856)

          E-ink is dead? I have not seen any big changes recently or even many new products, e-ink seems to have matured rapily to a niche (that it fills well) and nothing new is coming, doesn't mean it's dead yet. I personally prefer reading on an e-reader (Kindle paper white 6"), this does not mean I want an e-ink phone or laptop.

          Although there is a possibility that just something different is good, as I spend most of my day using an LCD screen. I find the screen particularly good for reading in bed because LCD seems to keep me awake. My e-readers battery life is also 25-30x longer than my tablet. This means I don't have to worry about not being able to read if my tablet dies, and not having to waste battery time on reading. For me this is especially useful as I frequently take a coach from Den Haag (NL) to Manchester (UK), a trip that goes down to France across the channel and back up. On these long trips my tablet usually dies before its over (I use it to listen to music and watch videos so).
          I used to use my tablet for reading e-books (Moon Reader) but found that an hour reading(my commute to uni includes a 30min train ride) seemed to really reduce battery life (my tablet is always on and will last a weekend with light use, including context aware networking). I have tried reading on my laptop but It always feels odd (I can't justify this it just does not feel right). I appreciate this seems to draw arbitrary differences because I will read websites, manuals, and data sheets on a laptop.

          It is worth separating out the kindle from Amazons e-book service, I generally read Free(gratis) books usually found though Calibre and have bought ~£5 of books from Amazon (wanted to try it and had a gift card). really the service is to expensive and ownership to transient for my liking.

          There are two things I would like changed on the Kindle

          1. Support for .epub: I often end up converting from .epub to .mobi and the books always get the formatting slightly off (not so it is hard to read but excess white space and odd chapter marks. I use calibre on the fly conversion (seems to work the same as doing it beforehand in Calibre), does anyone know if a tool (needs to run on Debian) that does a better job?
          2. De-columnate pdfs: This one is a pipe dream put I read lots of documents that come as PDFs with two columns. It would be so nice to be able to extract the PDF text (and diagrams) and have it displayed normally on the e-reader. If someone knows how to do this please tell me.

          For me e-reader with e-ink screens have value, I still think there a bit expensive and I would not rush out and buy one if mine broke, I would wait for the sails. I would replace my Tablet immediately and for much more money, which shows that the tablet is more useful. Just because e-ink has little value to you does not mean there is no benefit to anyone. and I sure some of the advocates on the other site were shills. but spending 30 mins reading a website or doing some coding (am I the only one who spends as much time with a scrap of paper and pencil when coding as looking at a monitor) is different to sitting down and reading a novel for an hour.

  • (Score: 2) by Subsentient on Sunday June 15 2014, @03:56AM

    by Subsentient (1111) on Sunday June 15 2014, @03:56AM (#55481) Homepage Journal

    I have trouble finding a chunk of time just to even code, that coupled with tiredness makes it very hard to find time when I am both free to code and able to code. I understand.

    --
    "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society." -Jiddu Krishnamurti
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 15 2014, @04:21AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 15 2014, @04:21AM (#55492)

      Stop checking Facefuck, Twatter, and Gspotmail every five seconds. There's plenty of time when you quit fragmenting your time.

      • (Score: 2) by captain normal on Sunday June 15 2014, @06:30AM

        by captain normal (2205) on Sunday June 15 2014, @06:30AM (#55520)

        Also hanging out on SN etc...

        --
        Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts"- --Daniel Patrick Moynihan--
      • (Score: 2) by Subsentient on Sunday June 15 2014, @06:32AM

        by Subsentient (1111) on Sunday June 15 2014, @06:32AM (#55521) Homepage Journal

        I don't even have a Facebook account, nor a Twitter account. I don't check my email more than twice a day.

        --
        "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society." -Jiddu Krishnamurti
      • (Score: 2) by Tork on Sunday June 15 2014, @07:15AM

        by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Sunday June 15 2014, @07:15AM (#55530)
        All this hostility towards people with friends.
        --
        🏳️‍🌈 Proud Ally 🏳️‍🌈
        • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Sunday June 15 2014, @07:39AM

          by maxwell demon (1608) on Sunday June 15 2014, @07:39AM (#55536) Journal

          I have friends. I don't have facebook or twitter accounts.

          You know, people even had friends before facebook or twitter (or even the internet) existed. And it somehow worked without being constantly up to date to the last minute about them.

          --
          The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
          • (Score: 2) by Tork on Sunday June 15 2014, @08:23AM

            by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Sunday June 15 2014, @08:23AM (#55544)
            And then Facebook came along and became popular for no good reason, right?
            --
            🏳️‍🌈 Proud Ally 🏳️‍🌈
            • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Sunday June 15 2014, @09:29AM

              by maxwell demon (1608) on Sunday June 15 2014, @09:29AM (#55554) Journal

              It doesn't matter for my argument. Being on facebook is not equivalent with having friends, contrary to your claim. That's the point I'm making. Not more, not less.

              There are good reasons not to be on facebook. Not having friends is not one of them.

              --
              The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
              • (Score: 2) by Tork on Sunday June 15 2014, @09:58AM

                by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Sunday June 15 2014, @09:58AM (#55558)

                You brought up how it was before... so, sorry, yes it is relevent in relation to your argument. I agree with you that there are good reasons to stay away from Facebook, but if you cannot acknowledge what it brings to the table you cannot speak with credibility.

                --
                🏳️‍🌈 Proud Ally 🏳️‍🌈
                • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Sunday June 15 2014, @11:40AM

                  by maxwell demon (1608) on Sunday June 15 2014, @11:40AM (#55567) Journal

                  To reject your implication that not being on facebook means not having friends, I wouldn't even need to know what facebook is.

                  --
                  The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
                  • (Score: 2) by Tork on Sunday June 15 2014, @06:07PM

                    by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Sunday June 15 2014, @06:07PM (#55633)
                    Umm, no, that was never implied in my post.
                    --
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                  • (Score: 2) by Tork on Monday June 16 2014, @12:01AM

                    by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Monday June 16 2014, @12:01AM (#55710)
                    So did technology destroy your ability to read? ;)
                    --
                    🏳️‍🌈 Proud Ally 🏳️‍🌈
    • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Monday June 16 2014, @02:37AM

      by Grishnakh (2831) on Monday June 16 2014, @02:37AM (#55747)

      I have a terrible time concentrating on code when my stupid desk is in an open-plan work area right on a busy corridor. How employers think these environments are supposed to be conducive to work requiring concentration, I have no idea.

  • (Score: 0) by aos on Sunday June 15 2014, @04:07AM

    by aos (758) on Sunday June 15 2014, @04:07AM (#55486)

    Blocks of time are not my problem so much as attention span. When I spend too much time on the computer/phone doing mindless activities (working doesn't count, as that requires focus), I find myself similarly fleeting in the real world as well. It requires some readjustments to my focus to get into a library book; I don't remember this happening when I was younger, but then again, all of my computer time was spent either engaging with others on IRC clones, writing software or playing games. I didn't waste much time reading the news or watching Youtube...I guess TV would have had a similar effect on previous generations if one channel surfed continuously.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by gman003 on Sunday June 15 2014, @04:16AM

    by gman003 (4155) on Sunday June 15 2014, @04:16AM (#55489)

    Uninterrupted reading is great, but even short bursts are fine. I read the Silmarillion in chunks of maybe an hour. It took months, but it was just as understandable as if I had done it in one sitting.

    Also, tech has nothing to do with it. I've read for hours straight on a computer. Wikisource has a collection of Lovecraft stories - maybe they aren't classified as "Great Books", but you'd be hard-pressed to shove them in the same category as the inanity that fills most of the internet.

    I also wonder if observations like this even have to do with technology. I used to be able to read for 4-5 hours at a time, back when I was in middle school. As I kept going through school, that time shrank or got eaten up by other things. And then with work and "being an adult", that free time shrinks. But that's hardly technology's fault. I suspect people are seeing that correlation between "lack of free time to read" and "technology advancing" without realizing they're both being caused by time passing, not a direct causation. I'm sure you can still find kids who can read for ten hours a day on the weekend, if they can find a good enough book to read.

    • (Score: 2) by VLM on Sunday June 15 2014, @12:00PM

      by VLM (445) on Sunday June 15 2014, @12:00PM (#55573)

      "I'm sure you can still find kids who can read for ten hours a day on the weekend, if they can find a good enough book to read."

      Harry Potter wasn't all that long ago. Having read the first book, I'm not claiming its high end literature, but it was effective at getting kids into books.

      • (Score: 1) by My Silly Name on Sunday June 15 2014, @02:05PM

        by My Silly Name (1528) on Sunday June 15 2014, @02:05PM (#55599)
        Harry Potter wasn't all that long ago. Having read the first book, I'm not claiming its high end literature, but it was effective at getting kids into books.

        Kids don't need high-end literature, they just need sufficient attention span to cope with more than 140 characters of text at a time (a lesson some of our politicians might do well to emulate). I remember reading Blyton, Compton and Creasey books by torchlight under the blankets when I was a kid. Joanne Rowling has filled the same role for a more recent generation. In fact, given the sheer length of her Harry Potter books, she has done an unprecedented job of claiming kids' attention.
  • (Score: 2) by tibman on Sunday June 15 2014, @04:20AM

    by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Sunday June 15 2014, @04:20AM (#55491)

    A good book will be one that you have a hard time putting down. That has not changed. You won't give a damn about social updates or your RSS feed. If the author was arguing that nobody will read unenjoyable books anymore, he's certainly right.

    When one of my favorite authors releases a new book i let my boss know i'll be haggard for a few days. He's a reader too and understands.

    --
    SN won't survive on lurkers alone. Write comments.
  • (Score: 1) by Hawkwind on Sunday June 15 2014, @04:25AM

    by Hawkwind (3531) on Sunday June 15 2014, @04:25AM (#55494)

    The examples sound more like issues with individuals, not computers. Poor guy is too distracted on his two hour train commute. PhD student can't go ten minutes without checking in. Dude sounds too self absorbed to look at the real issue.

    • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 15 2014, @04:29AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 15 2014, @04:29AM (#55495)

      You don't go from PhD student to PhD without sucking a lot of cock. Ten minutes a pop sounds around right.

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Tork on Sunday June 15 2014, @05:26AM

      by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Sunday June 15 2014, @05:26AM (#55504)
      I'm inclined to agree. I do love reading, but in the last five years I haven't had time. In fact nearly all of my free time is easily spoken for. I have lotsa devices around telling me I have email and news notifications and so forth. The line between my work office and my home office has gotten a good deal blurrier in the last year. So... is the article right? I'm not inclined to agree. For me these are all lifestyle things. I've chosen to be more active in these ways and have used technology to help support it. While I was in line at the grocery store, for example, I remoted into my workstation via my phone to kick off another task for work. Was I required to do that? No. I just wanted to so I'd have more prepared for Monday... it means I can sleep better this weekend.

      I do think there's a point to be made about technology changing people's expectations. There's a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon where the father is ranting about how back in the days where people wrote letters nobody expected an answer before next week, that these days they expected a phone call right away. Welp I can tell you in the last five years the expectations of my general output has risen dramatically. But I've also been given more software and hardware power to achieve those goals. One could see it as technology is increasing expectations, but it's also the solution to delivering on those expectations

      The timing of this article is interesting. I talked about my work life landing at home. This weekend in particular I've been remoting into my work machine to finish up a task. The thing is, though, I'm doing that at my leisure this weekend INSTEAD of having to come in to the office for 10 hours. And you know what I'd be doing? Waiting five minutes for a file to open. Waiting twenty minutes for a process to finish. Waiting an hour after kicking off a second process to finish. Waiting five minutes for the newly embiggened file to be saved. Waiting half an hour for the file to be converted into another format and then ten minutes of QC. Multiply that by the number of files I have to do and, yeah, long day. I'm doing this from home and spending time with my wife during those wait periods. The impact on my home life is surprisingly minimal. If I didn't have a few technological things in place, I'd probably just now getting home in time to have dinner and go to bed. Blargle on that.
      --
      🏳️‍🌈 Proud Ally 🏳️‍🌈
      • (Score: 2) by VLM on Sunday June 15 2014, @12:09PM

        by VLM (445) on Sunday June 15 2014, @12:09PM (#55575)

        "And you know what I'd be doing?"

        I have spent decades of my working life writing little scripts to automate the whole process including exception reporting and alerting when it inevitably runs off the rails. Automated systems to restart the process under some failure conditions is interesting.

        First you make a big state machine flowchart where every process has a pass/fail. The a script to figure out what state you're in and how to get to the next state. No need to make it event driven if it "works" 24x7 who cares if its only 95% efficient. Then run that script (which hopefully executes in less than 1 minute) every minute.

        When you get fancy you install an off the shelf batching / queuing system and if you have distinct resources then set them up as reservable in the queuing system and just load it up and let 'er rip. So only one process (or two or whatever) tortures the database while another floods the network or whatever. Also put little plugins for munin graphs and nagios alerts in so its all compatible with the rest of the system.

        If you're doing something CLI / unix-ish this is trivial. If doing something GUI, you're outta luck those kill productivity.

        So at work I am able to read a work related book, and at home I can read any book I feel like, until I get a failure alert.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by khchung on Sunday June 15 2014, @05:56AM

    by khchung (457) on Sunday June 15 2014, @05:56AM (#55508)

    I grew up spending hours each day, every day devouring books of all sorts. Is this a thing that's lost to people raised with Internet, Game Consoles, and Smartphones? Pardon me if I sound like an old fart.

    I used to carry a book with me (along with a portable gaming console) everywhere I got, so I can read or play whenever I have to wait -- on the train/subway, waiting for my table at lunch, etc. And there was always the problem when I finished that book on the road, I have no other books to read until I happened to pass by a bookstore, or until I got home. So sometimes I even brought 2 books when I was nearly finished with the first.

    Now, I have the Kindle app on my phone, and I can read everywhere without having to carry the weight of the book I happened to be reading (which is quite heavy if that happened to be hardback edition). I can buy another book and start reading right away even when I am on the road. When I am home, I can open the Kindle app on my PC and continue from where I was on the phone, then the next day I can pick up on the phone similarly. These are possible because all my devices are "always on".

    What I find is now I read more books than I ever could before there is the Kindle.

    Yes, I know many people find Amazon's business distasteful and refuse to buy a Kindle, and refuse to "buy" books that they don't really "own". But if all you care is to *read*, and don't care as much about having a physical book to store in the basement afterwards, then getting the Kindle app on your phone will let you read.

    So, no, my experience is just the opposite, "always on" tech let me read even more books that before.

    • (Score: 1) by fido_dogstoyevsky on Sunday June 15 2014, @01:36PM

      Yes, I know many people find Amazon's business distasteful and refuse to buy a Kindle, and refuse to "buy" books that they don't really "own". But if all you care is to *read*, and don't care as much about having a physical book to store in the basement afterwards, then getting an ebook reader* such as EBookDroid [appsapk.com] on your phone will let you read.

      Fixed that for you.

      * And using a still functional public domain (eg Project Gutenberg, manybooks.net etc).

      --
      It's NOT a conspiracy... it's a plot.
      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by khchung on Monday June 16 2014, @03:40AM

        by khchung (457) on Monday June 16 2014, @03:40AM (#55766)

        Do you know why I recommended a Kindle instead of all other kinds of free ebook readers? Cuz I tried them before and, for some strange reason, I read a *lot* more on Kindle (the app, not the device), and only on Kindle.

        I tried to put stuff to read on a Palm V (anyone remember Advantgo which can pull websites and sync to the Palm? I probably misspelled it anyway), I downloaded free books into the reader app there also. I finished maybe 10 books with it, in all the years that I owned it, while still carrying physical books around.

        Similar experiences on all similar PDA devices all the way to my current phone (I got reader apps on my phone), but none let me change my habit of carrying a book around until Kindle.

        What makes Kindle work for me? I can't say for sure, but convenience is definitely a major factor. First is the ability to sync where I was across all devices, and the second is the huge selection available from Amazon. Yes, I know project Gutenberg have lots of books, but being able to see a book mentioned (on websites, on billboards, or anywhere) and found that Amazon has a Kindle edition most of the time, and I can have it *right away* (for a price) is a very convenient.

  • (Score: 1) by redneckmother on Sunday June 15 2014, @05:58AM

    by redneckmother (3597) on Sunday June 15 2014, @05:58AM (#55509)

    "Yes".

    --
    Mas cerveza por favor.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 15 2014, @08:33PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 15 2014, @08:33PM (#55671)

      tl;dr

  • (Score: 2) by keplr on Sunday June 15 2014, @06:38AM

    by keplr (2104) on Sunday June 15 2014, @06:38AM (#55523) Journal

    I know a lot of purists will say it doesn't count as reading, and technically I suppose they're right, but I really love audiobooks. Life is full of blocks of time when you are occupied by some task that requires physical movement or attention but not a full level of mental engagement. I'm on the treadmill about an hour every day and that's my main reading time. There's plenty of time walking around at work when I can get some "reading" done, too.

    Selection has gotten much better in recent years. It used to be that the audio version came out months or years later, and even then it was the abridged version. Now, often the unabridged audiobook will be released around the same time as the text version. The quality of narrators has gone up to, IMO.

    So audiobooks are one example of technology increasing the amount of "reading" I can do, and it turns otherwise unproductive time into useful and entertaining experiences.

    --
    I don't respond to ACs.
    • (Score: 2) by lx on Sunday June 15 2014, @02:58PM

      by lx (1915) on Sunday June 15 2014, @02:58PM (#55608)

      How do you do it? My mind tends to wander when listening to audiobooks so I'm constantly rewinding to keep following the plot. Something that rarely happens to me when reading.

  • (Score: 1) by Crosscompiler on Sunday June 15 2014, @06:57AM

    by Crosscompiler (516) on Sunday June 15 2014, @06:57AM (#55527)

    "Children today are tyrants...".

    The article is worthless; he whinges that popular fiction is less popular while noting that he still sees people reading books of quality, meanders off to do some name dropping, then finishes by ascribing fanboiesqe qualities to some good-but-not-nearly-that-good older books.

    In the last eighty years, popular modern fiction has aped movies and TV which have aped popular modern fiction. There is only so much time and money, and movies/TV are currently very inexpensive in both time and money relative to modern fiction.

    Long before movies and TV most new popular fiction books sucked, most suck today, and there is no indication they will improve in the future. Critics have always been worse than chance at recognizing quality or what will endure.

    My solution has been to avoid modern fiction, TV and modern movies; I would recommend everyone do likewise.

    coda: I don't think it's significant, but for classics the situation reverses; e.g., Seven Samurai is $40 and can't be streamed (last I checked), but the entire catalogs of Shakespeare, Chekhov, Melville and hundreds of others total $0.

  • (Score: 2) by rts008 on Sunday June 15 2014, @07:06AM

    by rts008 (3001) on Sunday June 15 2014, @07:06AM (#55528)

    It sounds like he has attention span issues, or cannot manage his time, or even can't nail down his priorities.

    Because of technology advancing, I read now more than ever.

    I havehad an eBook reader for some years now that has 2 GB internal storage, but a slot for a (up to 32 GB) an SD card.

    It came with 150 free books on the internal chip(I think all, or most came from Project Gutenbrg), and I have my complete ebook library on the 16 GB SD card I currently have.

    I take it everywhere, and it is quite convenient to wake it to where I left off, with one button press..instant on.

    It's a cheapy I picked up as a discontinued item on Newegg about 4-5 years ago for $49.99(free shipping)

    The battery only lasts several days due to having an LCD screen, but that's what I wanted...one I could read in low light/dark, and NO touchscreen!
    And yes, it even runs Linux! (I forget what distro).

    "The Book" by Augen is what it is.

    Before that, I found Baen Free Library online back around 1999-2000, and since I had a very nice CRT, I read a lot online. Baen was just the spring board.

  • (Score: 2) by Geezer on Sunday June 15 2014, @07:38AM

    by Geezer (511) on Sunday June 15 2014, @07:38AM (#55535)

    We set our own priorities. I read quite a bit. I make time for it. Anyone can.

    • (Score: 2) by tibman on Sunday June 15 2014, @08:23AM

      by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Sunday June 15 2014, @08:23AM (#55545)

      Agreed. If he finds that checking his facebook is more rewarding than reading then that is on him. I imagine he doesn't any real hobbies : /

      --
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  • (Score: 2) by lhsi on Sunday June 15 2014, @09:49AM

    by lhsi (711) on Sunday June 15 2014, @09:49AM (#55557) Journal

    I've not read a book for myself in a long time, and have a pile of Private Eyes unread as I don't have the time to read them. I read to my son at bed time every night though, which is most of my non internet reading.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 15 2014, @03:39PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 15 2014, @03:39PM (#55615)

    I remember when I was growing up in the 80s, the fact that I read entire books made me seem like some alien and strange thing to people who couldn't even comprehend that I did it. So it's not like there was ever a time when most people read serious books. I don't think the number of readers has changed, it's just that now there's a 24/7 news cycle that needs endless filler articles during the Memorial Day to Labor Day slow news cycle, so we see filler like this.

    There may be fewer book readers, but not all books are equal, and I think YouTube and so on has taken over fluff fiction reading. What I see in the bookstore is tables piled up with unsold fiction. I rarely see any quality books that don't sell (history, mathematics, etc). Fluff fiction seems to be in sharp decline.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 16 2014, @05:30PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 16 2014, @05:30PM (#56014)

    It's not the technology's fault that people misuse it, so no, "always on tech" is not destroying our ability to read: people's misuse of it is. Studies have shown reading a physical book leads to better reading comprehension. People using morse code or tweets or texts or likes or whatever rather than engage in conversation is the problem, not morse code or twitter or texts or facebook. More people meet on match.com now than face-to-face. Society's changing, in some ways for the worse, but it seems inevitable since we'll all be uploaded to machines anyway.