Books are dead

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or soon will be.

Consider this.

Statistic Verification
Source: National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, The Associated Press
Research Date: 1.1.2014
Attention span is the amount of concentrated time on a task without becoming distracted. Most educators and psychologists agree that the ability to focus attention on a task is crucial for the achievement of one’s goals. It’s no surprise attention spans have been decreasing over the past decade with the increase in external stimulation.

The average attention span is five minutes. Ten years ago, it used to be 12 minutes.

So I’d better keep this short.

E books will be the digital ghost of hand-held, turn-the-page, dogeared, write-in-the-margins, lend-to-a-friend traditional book.

Self Publishing will transform literature into a mass, unsupervised, free-for-all American Idol Audition without a Simon Cowell making  scathing critical remarks.

A paragraph will be no longer than the average text message.

Unless, something changes. Writing must transform as it has in the past, not just to suite changing styles in language but to keep up with what technology is doing to the mind.
A writer’s competition is not other writers. We must now compete with cable TV, text messaging, video games and, sadly, a diminishing attention span. But how? We need to experiment as other writers have started by shortening paragraphs and writing books that in a past age would seem more like a bare-bones outline.

I wonder how many readers will see this last line?

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8 comments

  1. lonerloaner

    No way! I won’t give up tradition. My children are all learning classical methods of reading, grammar, rhetoric, poetic code and a couple of extra languages. We have no kindles, tablets and their computer use is limited to educational things only, unrelated to reading tasks. If they have to read something on the internet, they print it out. They already own libraries of books and re-read them often. I’d like to think one day they will be part of a generation who will be begged to show others the ‘code’. We cannot succumb to dumbing down of the masses and reading in ‘F’s’ that electronica encourages. This is not to disagree that what you wrote is occurring but we don’t have to participate or encourage it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lonerloaner

      You will find the majority of home schoolers also following this same tradition. We’re responsible for keeping it alive, us, the readers, the writers.

      We must also continue to critique, albeit with love, the younger generations who think it is ok to type words with one letter or abbreviations that don’t even make sense. It’s people like you Brother, with skill, that need to share and keep it alive.

      Reading is cool. As men, we need to focus especially on younger men and boys and show them how a cultivated, well cultured man who has books in his satchel is far more attractive, chivalrous, interesting and braver than the coward who lacks the zeal and energy to quieten his squeaking soul and turn a page in contemplation because it doesn’t look ‘cool’.

      Since when was being all the positive things above uncool? To the feeble minded, perhaps. To me and my children we know that the great warriors of the past were not just physical beasts, but reflective and contemplative souls. You cannot learn those skills from a screen. It has to be balanced with physical acumen as well as the mental and spiritual tasks that filter down and distils us into beings of worth, that don’t die when our bodies decompose.
      Nicholas Carr’s book The Shallows goes into great detail about the online trends and their destruction of minds and the ability to read. Peace and love.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Vincent Cole

        It is a challenge. Though I fear being one of those “in my day we …” types, I often shake, wondering why anyone would text a conversation, taking an hour to convey what could have been said in 15 minutes. I suppose it’s not just the younger generation – it’s a social problem. Is it really a necessity to have a cell phone with you at all times? To many people, the answer is yes. I appreciate technology (writing this on a laptop rather than pounding away on a manual typewriter), however, with all man-made things, it should be used wisely.
        I remember a young 20-something saying something so profound regarding his generation – “We pray for mercy while we kill ourselves.”
        Thank you lonerloaner for your insightful words.

        Like

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