i will say it and say it again, that i believe in the power of stories. that narrative is important. that fiction can be more truthful than non fiction. but sadly, i havn't read a novel in years. since i finished grad school a month ago, i've started and cast aside 3 novels. i just can't stick with a good long book any more.
my first thought was that i might blame the last 10 years i've spent in higher education. i've been trained (and become highly skilled) at plowing through texts, at writing book reviews on books i didn't have time to read, at getting to what the author is saying without noting their every word. the act of reading a story requires something different of the reader- to submit to the text and be guided by the intentional sequence of events- quite literally, to undergo it. i have become impatient and somewhat utilitarian with books.
another thought came after reading an interview in the sun magazine with the fella who wrote the provocative atlantic article "is google making us stupid?" last summer. he believes that the "distracted nature of web surfing, is reducing our capacity for deep contemplation and reflection." he realized that after years of "online information gathering, he had trouble reading a book..." hmmm, says i. sounds like me. one of the things he notes in the interview is that online activity exercises the part of the brain that is the realm of decision making- an activity which is mentally exhausting in comparison to the mental energy used in reading a book or in contemplation.
so this is my lament. my brain has been re-wired by grad-school and the world wide web. the process of Re-Re-wiring must begin as soon as this internet connection is no longer available!