The Case for Preserving the Pleasure of Deep Reading – Lots of great stuff in here, especially if you love reading! In this season of life, it’s easy for me to try to forego the “deeper” reading, so reading articles like this are highly motivational to stick with it! (At the same time, I wonder if the ubiquitous availability of reading material is actually encouraging more people to be readers, and in the long run, that might get more people hooked?)
“When a minaret dating from the twelfth century was toppled in the fighting between rebels and government forces in Aleppo, Syria, earlier this spring, we recognized that more than a building had been lost. The destruction of irreplaceable artifacts—like the massive Buddha statues dynamited in the Bamiyan Valley in Afghanistan in 2001 and the ancient texts burned and looted in Iraq in 2003—leaves us less equipped to understand ourselves and where we came from, less able to enlarge ourselves with the awe and pleasure that these creations once evoked.
Which is why we should care about the survival of a human treasure threatened right here at home: the deep reader. “Deep reading”—as opposed to the often superficial reading we do on the web—is an endangered practice, one we ought to take steps to preserve as we would a historic building or a significant work of art. Its disappearance would imperil the intellectual and emotional development of generations growing up online, as well as the perpetuation of a critical part of our culture: the novels, poems and other kinds of literature that can be appreciated only by readers whose brains, quite literally, have been trained to apprehend them.”
“Recent research in cognitive science, psychology and neuroscience has demonstrated that deep reading—slow, immersive, rich in sensory detail and emotional and moral complexity—is a distinctive experience, different in kind from the mere decoding of words. Although deep reading does not, strictly speaking, require a conventional book, the built-in limits of the printed page are uniquely conducive to the deep reading experience. A book’s lack of hyperlinks, for example, frees the reader from making decisions—Should I click on this link or not?—allowing her to remain fully immersed in the narrative.”
“None of this is likely to happen when we’re scrolling through TMZ.com. Although we call the activity by the same name, the deep reading of books and the information-driven reading we do on the web are very different, both in the experience they produce and in the capacities they develop. A growing body of evidence suggests that online reading may be less engaging and less satisfying, even for the “digital natives” for whom it is so familiar. Last month, for example, Britain’s National Literacy Trust released the results of a study of 34,910 young people aged eight to sixteen. Researchers reported that 39% of children and teens read daily using electronic devices, but only 28% read printed materials every day. Those who read only onscreen were three times less likely to say they enjoy reading very much, and a third less likely to have a favorite book. The study also found that young people who read daily only onscreen were nearly two times less likely to be above-average readers than those who read daily in print or both in print and onscreen.”
A Simple, Helpful Guide to Overcome Consumerism – Becoming Minimalist has a great article with some tips for becoming free from consumerism.
“Owning less brings great benefit to our lives: less stress, less debt, more time, more freedom.
But wanting less brings even more. Removing ourselves from the culture of consumption that surrounds us allows wonderful habits to emerge in our lives: contentment, gratitude, freedom from comparison, and the opportunity to pursue greater significance.”
“2. Adopt a traveler’s mentality. When we travel, we take only what we need for the journey. As a result, we feel lighter, freer, more flexible… we understand why there is a growing movement to stage our bedrooms like hotel rooms. Adopting a traveler’s mindset for life provides the same benefit—not just for a weeklong vacation, but in everything we do. Adopt a mindset that seeks to carry only what you need for the journey.
3. Embrace the life-giving benefits of owning less. Rarely are we invited to consider the benefits of owning less. But when the practical benefits are clearly articulated, they are quickly understood, easily recognized, and often desired. Of course, these benefits are only fully realized when we actually begin living with less. An important step to overcome consumerism is to embrace the reality that there is more life to be found in owning less than can be found in owning more.”