You read more things on the Internet every day than you can possibly count. Every day we’re being told to speed up, sign on, log in. If you’re on social networking sites, you get hit with a barrage of links every hour. Maybe you just read headlines, or the first paragraph. After all, you’ve got to finish quickly so you can race on to the next thing.
As we move into the summer months, however, it’s a good time to slow down a little. Even though we live in a world where it’s essential to be tech savvy, it’s equally important to do some things the old-fashioned way. In short: It’s time for you to read a book.
Of course, books and the Internet are not mutually exclusive. In fact, if Google’s new deal with book publishers gets approved by the courts, you might be able to read many books online through Google books. As a result, we’ll get access to out of print books, but we’ll also still be in front of our computers.
And that may be a problem, argues the talented and perceptive novelist and essayist Zadie Smith, who says that the Internet does so much damage to our attention spans that completing projects, especially writing projects, is practically impossible. She calls the Internet an “absolute disaster for writers.” But there are some studies that suggest the opposite: the Internet and other digital technology may actually be helping writing.
The Internet doesn’t have to be a "disaster" for readers, especially if you use it to research books or book events and then go explore in the real world. Start by choosing a great beach book; several are noted in our “5 Must-Reads for Summer” feature.
Then, consider sharing your renewed love of books with others by seeking out literary events in your area. Attending a reading or a book festival is a great way to share your love of literature, and get unwired for at least an hour. Happy reading!