Today I received ten books in the mail. They were school books, of course. The same ones that I admitted to buying in my last BA session on this blog.
It is always nice to get a new book, though. Somehow, those little tomes hold a promise–no matter how new and shiny or old, dusty, and abused they are. In fact, opening those little packages and pulling out the newest additions to my book collection (which seems to grow exponentially) balanced out some of the pain and doldruminess I was feeling due to the recent removal of another wisdom tooth. (I had it pulled this morning).
Books hold the promise of adventure, escape, enlightenment, entertainment, or–and even the driest, hugest textbooks holds this power–at least the promise of some kind of mental exercise.
Recent trends in the publishing blogosphere indicate an increasing concern that our heavy dependence upon technology in everyday life may be causing us to lose the ability to think at deep and prolonged levels. Instead of mulling over a topic for hours or days, we flit from brief consideration to brief consideration. What’s new of Facebook? Twitter? Myspace? Who wrote a new blog today? Let me just skim through this and move on to my next task of the day…
Multitasking, social-networking, texting, and emailing, as major parts of modern life, require skill sets vastly different from the skills needed to read, consider, even appreciate a full-length novel. Even books these days cater to the ever shortening attention spans of their readers. With the internet at our fingertips, do any of us have the will power or tenacity to deny ourselves the route to easy information and actually WORK to find, research, or understand whatever it is that needs attending to?
Concerns about the effects of technology have abounded since technology first became available to people. But what if the ability to make “friends” instantaneously online has degraded our ability to invest the time and hardwork required for personal, real friendships? What if our ability to flit from blog to facebook to twitter is destroying our ability to invest the time, effort, and deep thought required to read texts like Thoreau’s WALDEN, Steinbeck’s THE GRAPES OF WRATH, Dumas’ THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO?
Being a bookaholic doesn’t seem so terrible in light of these considerations, does it? I like my books. 🙂