Jennifer Howard, a professional writer and editor, found herself unable to re-read a Hermann Hesse novel she loved: the "grafted, spasmodic, online style" of reading has forced itself onto all of her reading, making immersion difficult and the text unsatisfying. So she knuckled down to review Maryanne Wolf's Reader, Come Home, a book about what's happening to our "reading brains."
...the average person “consumes about 34 gigabytes across varied devices each day” — some 100,000 words’ worth of information. “Neither deep reading nor deep thinking can be enhanced by the aptly named ‘chopblock’ of time we are all experiencing, or by 34 gigabytes of anything per day,” Wolf argues
Even as it keeps one eye on the future, “Reader, Come Home” embodies some old-fashioned reading pleasures, with quotes from Italo Calvino, John Dunne, Toni Morrison, Marcel Proust, Elie Wiesel and other illustrious word-workers. It unfolds as a series of letters addressed to “Dear Reader” from “Your Author,” a call to remember that books come alive as exchanges between writers and readers.
That structure can make “Reader, Come Home” feel — in a corny but charming way — like a throwback to an era already gone, if it ever existed. Wolf offers a persuasive catalog of the cognitive and social good created by deep reading, but does not really acknowledge that the ability to read well has never been universal.
Make reading great again.
Photo: Johnnydeezwax, CC-BY-SA
Brutal Block Postcards is a new book that, er, celebrates the concrete landscape of the Soviet era. Over at Collectors Weekly, Lisa Hix flips through the pages: Many of these postcards, published by governments of the U.S.S.R. between the 1960s and 1980s, depict the bland, 1960s five-story concrete-paneled apartments known as “khrushchyovka” as if to […]
The Authors Alliance is a nonprofit that advocates for authors, libraries, readers and scholars (I'm on their advisory board); they've done a ton of great work, notably a tool for authors to claim their copyrights back from publishers, even when the original contract specified that the rights were signed away "in perpetuity."
The University of Michigan's library recently acquired a copy of American Cheese, 20 Slices, by Ben Denzer, a book made from shelf-stable, plastic-wrapped slices of American cheese.
Speed reading isn’t just an innate skill possessed by a lucky few. Anyone can learn to speed read, and the benefits are endless. The brain can process more information than most people have time to soak up, but you can make that time now with the 2018 Award-Winning Speed Reading Bundle. The first half of […]
Sure, you could use the same old PowerPoint templates for your next business presentation. It’s not like you have bosses or investors to impress. Oh wait, you do? Time to augment that slideshow with Slideshop – the presentation tool that can individualize your pitch while saving you time. Compatible with PowerPoint, Keynote and Google Slides, […]
Multinational companies have used the no-nonsense methodologies of Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma to oil a smooth-running operation for years. What is it? Six Sigma (and its offshoot, Lean Six Sigma) apply the principles of science to business, teaching managers to methodically target waste, maximize output and streamline the flow from producer to consumer. […]