Thursday, August 13, 2009

How Reading Should Be

I'm not a veteran reader. I probably read 10 times more books my first year at Clemson, than I had I had up to that point. As a social science emphasis I read a lot, but none for pleasure. I didn't read news regularly until my wife's grandfather bought me a subscription to the Economist right before grad school . But it wasn't until I started blogging that reading for pleasure was a daily activity. Since then, I've read more online in the last two years than in my life prior. I think it's because the internet was made for consumption. If you find something interesting you read it. If something more interesting is referenced in the article you click on it. It's like following Alice down the most interesting rabbit hole. Unlike books which sometimes make me feel trapped, the internet is flexible. It's even inspired me to increase my reading speed (clocked at 210 per minute). So am I doomed to book phobia? Not if I use the same "enjoy or ditch" system with books, as Tyler Cowen proposes. Or even better, maybe the next generation of Kindles will make books so cheap and easy we'll flip through them like TV channels. We may even see bookshelves go the way of CD racks. Although that's unlikely, I do have one unread copy of Cowen's Discover Your Inner Economist on my shelf, and no unread Marginal Revolution posts.

Update: Commenter Kev sends me a link that suggests it's the journey, not the information that we love. Either way I love it.


  1. So glad you're enjoying reading, but I will say every time I finish a new book I'm surprised by the inadequacy of information on the internet.

    Can't wait to read the slate article. It looks awesome.

  2. I should make it clear that this is my story of reading. As someone who suspects they may have undiagnosed ADHD (seriously), I'm not saying this is for everyone. My wife, a huge reader, read this and felt sad for me. Maybe I should get fiction books another (technically a first) shot.


You are the reason why I do not write privately. I would love to hear your thoughts, whether you agree or not.