What gets overlooked, when people complain about the internet and modern life destroying our capacity to read books, is that we are writing more than we ever used to. We spoke into telephones rather than emailing or texting; before phones, we wrote letters, if we had the desire and the education. Most people didn’t.
Now we socialize by typing at one another. I made the mistake today–I don’t know what I was thinking–of reading the comments section of an article on gun control, and I was reminded again that lots of people are writing. It made me miss the good old days.
But it’s not all internet trolls. I’ve had to wean myself away from the wealth of wonderful essays freely available online. Who would have imagined that the essay would enjoy a resurgence? And there’s some fine journalism out there, sometimes from the established sources, frequently from smaller and newer enterprises that most of us would never have heard of, in other times.
The blog seems to be dying, though. Not so long ago it was common for people to post their essays and thought-pieces on blogs, but now the microblog is the heir apparent.
This blog mirrors the trend. I’m not going to kill it–it’s free, and not taking up physical space, and it’s a nice way to publicize my annual reading list–but I’m not going to tend it very often.
But since I am here:
Lois Duncan died today. She was one of the better Young Adult novelists when I was growing up, but I remember her best for her memoir, Who Killed My Daughter? You can guess from the title that it’s one of the saddest true crime books you’ll ever read.
I have been in a reading slump for…. five years, if we’re being honest, and acutely for the past two. I keep resolving to fix it. It is a struggle. The internet and modern life have destroyed my capacity to read books.
It’s a quality-of-life concern. I don’t know that I can be happy; I do know that I certainly cannot be happy if I’m not reading, regularly, daily.
It’s like having pets. I can muddle through without them, but I don’t see the point.
Though I cannot properly read if I’m letting the damn dog in every other minute. I may need to investigate dog doors.
Anyway. Lois Duncan. I hope there’s an afterlife and you get to ask your daughter what happened.