I made it with three days to spare!
Quite chuffed as it’s been a struggle to get into the habit of reading books again. Somewhere along my life, staying up at night with a book got replaced with staying up at night in front of the PC on the Internet.
They’re both great ways to gain knowledge. With the web and its Google indexed pages, I can find myself flitting from one topic to another, gaining a thousand snippets of information with a few clicks.
But there is something about the forced linearity and single-mindedness of a book’s format that I’ve started to find quite enjoyable and relaxing again. There is no overhead of having to make a million micro-decisions as you read (should I click this link? Let’s just open new tab and read it later. Ooh that word, let’s look it up on Wikipedia. Oh this is interesting, let’s share it on Google+. Now where was I again? Ooh I never knew that. Must try and use the word “Chuffed” some time soon. So that is how a turbofan engine works. Gosh too many tabs, Control-N! … ah … oh google … what was that thing I wanted to search about? Hey look at that doodle! — and so on).
With a book it’s back to basics. Start at the beginning; read and flip pages; stop when you reach the end. No distractions otherwise. On a Kindle, even the character (some would argue the soul) of a book is stripped bare: there is no weight, smell or texture to distinguish one book from another, the cover art is hidden, and all books appear in the same, uniform typeface (of your choosing). You’re left with the author’s thought stream flowing straight into your mind and nothing else. A long lost state of blissfulness.
I don’t know if we will still have books in a generation or two to come. By this I mean the content of books, presented in a single dimensional fashion (paper books will — no, must —
die burn! 😎 ). I don’t think the next generation will be able to muster the attention span it needs. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, just like the lack of a forest with a stream behind the house I grew up in is not a bad thing either.
My reading highlights for the year have mostly been books on science or the history of science (given what I’ve had to deal with the last few years I feel the need to reaffirm a strong sense of rationality in this universe). I enjoyed “How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming” (http://goo.gl/s1fFgN) and also “Survival of the Sickest” (http://goo.gl/CMAFCO) the most.
I’ve amassed enough titles in Calibre to last me a good few years. All I need now is a deserted island, and a solar powered USB charger to charge up the Kindle.
This post was originally published publicly on Google+ at 2013-12-29 05:56:07+0800