On reading

Reading in an age of abundance

I've been flitting. I now read more than I ever have, but my concentration is less than it ever was. I am always on; aware of something else, just over there -- a bee in a field of flowers, and no end to the gathering. This constant mind movement is unsettling. I'm addicted; the abundant electronic offerings always tugging at my ignorance, my desire. I possess one human's worth of curiosity, with ever increasing calls for my limited attention. I am my own curator, and there the trouble begins. 

Yesterday was cyber-Monday. I purchased books. My "to read" stack is mounting, though I no longer see the pile of books in their new digital form. There is something wrong with that. My mind turns toward acquisitions, sample chapters, an endless appetite and hunger for words, matched by a never-ending supply. Would you like another? When I'm too tired to read, an audio book beckons. I bite.

I haven't been able to stop myself yet, but I am growing weary of this pace. I'm used to a walker's stride, to stopping along the way, taking the time to absorb everything. The world changed. I quickly advanced to bike speed, then a car, now a bullet train. It's all road and track with constant equipment checks, increasing speed, and a destination unknown. It's no way to read, long term. I'm going to get off of this train, whenever it slows down.