What do I do now? Come home, do yoga for 15-30 minutes, make tea, meditate for 10 minutes, read for 15 - 50 minutes. Then I'll allow myself to do other things that may occupy my time.
I'll admit that as a single man without kids I have a lot more freedom over my schedule but this is very similar to my morning routine. At the minimum I've got 30 minutes of reading and 20 minutes of meditation in my day every day. This has done wonders for my ADD brain.
The other big thing is focuses on books I know I'll enjoy. For me that means Sci-Fi fiction novels and Magical Realism books. Also if I find myself not wanting to pick up the book then I'll move on from it.
Right now I'm reading alternating Murakami book, Vonnegut books, and books from The Sparrow (Mary Doria Russell) series. Are they all at the level or War and Peace? No. But I enjoy them and that's what maters.
P.S. I've got a kindle paperwhite which is IMO the best e reading device I've ever used. It sits in my draw while paper stack up around my house and near my bedside. It just doesnt feel the same. It's great for when I'm going to be traveling and need a few novels but dont have the space in my travel bag.
The thing's fantastic. I don't even mind the low dpi, or the delayed responsiveness (it's not slower than turning a paper page). I bring it with me and read anywhere. It does not have the attention seeking alerts nor the eye-straining of a back-lighted smartphone.
There's under a dozen simultaneous books I'm reading at any given time, spanning both fiction and non-fiction, and have already put 1500+ hours on it (the device has nifty time tracking stats!). To me it's about the niftiest piece of consumer tech the industry has put out the past two decades.
But even with bigger screen and higher resolution than most e-ink readers, it is still a bit small to read most magazines comfortably, which was a bit of a disappointment to me.
I read some ebooks on my phone before, but as you say, it does not compare. You have constant distractions and reading on a phone / tablet outside in daylight is no fun.
I tend to check out more books than I’ll actually read, looking for the ones that really grab me; I read those through to completion. The ones that change me fundamentally, I buy a copy to hold on to.
I did the Marie Kondo discarding thing with books a couple of years back and it opened up a lot of shelf space; it’s very useful for keeping an always rotating stack of books from the library.
And I write iOS apps for a living.
I also know that it takes me a few pages to really get into a book. I read all of Lovecraft's works in college. I had to set aside 45 minutes for reading time. The first 5-10 I would struggle but then eventually something would click and I would be locked into the book. If I took a few days off it was harder to lock in. I think sometimes reading is like getting on board with someone else's internal monologue or at least the characters via the authors writing style and that can be difficult for people with ADD.
Apparently, I had stopped reading because it was getting hard to see the words, a process so slow I didn't notice it.
However for all technical books, things like O’Reilly, No Starch, etc, I always buy physical. The decision to do that has very much 10x my learning. Even when it comes to long documentation (MySQL is an astounding 5,000+ pages) I’ll usually print out portions to cover if it’s reasonable.
I don’t know why this has increased my learning so much. The best I can come up with is that memory is based on some kind of spatial geography + other stuff. As I’m working on something, like configuring a CentOS server to a lengthy CIS Security Benchmark, I can recall in books what the page looked like, where I was when I read it, the feel of the page, and the part of the text I underlined in pen. Very strange.
For myself, though, it's just not resource efficient to use physical copies of all the technical documentation I read. For example, I'm learning Vulkan right now, and there's just 0% chance I'm going to print out 1300+ pages of documentation that's liable to change a few times a year in subtle ways.
Then again, just thinking about it now, maybe specifically printing out just the diffs when the spec changes could make it easier to stay up to date?
Obviously this doesn't applies to all new books, but if you're willing to read older books, there's a lot to read for relatively little cost.
I still buy textbooks to this day because I find it far easier to absorb technical information from that medium.
Same here. I always feel odd when I'm reading a physical book at my desk, though, since I've never, ever, not even once in 25 years, seen anybody else actually reading a book - not even the ones who have a shelf full of them at their desks.
Practically I think I have more "ties" to the real world, with a job, family, etc, and it's harder for me to stop worrying about those things long enough to slip inside the mind of a character in a book.
I am in process of learning this the hard way. Too much stress built up has lead to lots of physical manifestations.
I'd disagree strongly that fantasy novels have only mild escapism, but that leads me to this point: It sounds more like you need a different genre of book or style of writing. Fantasy may just not be engaging for you, or maybe you need something less Tolkien/Robert Jordan/Steven Erikson style. Something more escapist/lighthearted (Brandon Sanderson is good, R.A. Salvatore's Forgotten Realms novels are good, L.E. Modesitt Jr's Imager series, etc.). Or vice/versa - escapism may just not work for you, in which case something more thoughtful like Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen may be worth trying.
I will say I've rarely put down a fantasy series in the middle the way you've mentioned. Scifi will get me to do that though - I have the entire Mars trilogy on my bookshelf, but I've only read half of the first book - it's just too dry for me (and, frankly, I dislike the author's style. Revealing plot points near the beginning of the novel was a very poor choice). On the other hand, I very much enjoy the Culture novels, and Peter Hamilton's work.
For other unrelated genres: I really don't do mystery novels at all, as they don't interest me. Alternate history, I quite enjoy (at least Harry Turtledove's work- I can't say I've read much else)
Incidentally, there's one other thing that just kind of happens, but avoids me avoid dropping a novel - I rarely start a new series with only a short time to read. Get 15 minutes in to a series and go away for the day, and you may not feel that it's interesting enough to come back. Get an hour in, and usually that's not a problem.
Your 'free' time is valuable currency, and every minute must be invested as productively as possible, or you'll lose to someone else who does in this kill or die monkey knife fight economy
(edit: corrected link. Thank you!)
"So be it with Gnon. Our job is to placate him insofar as is necessary to avoid starvation and invasion. And that only for a short time, until we come into our full power."
To give everything of yourself over to Gnon/Moloch is to deny Elua, who Scott names the god of art, science, philosophy, love, niceness, community, civilization. One might add to that: the god of play, of gardening – of reading.
Free time is for enjoying life, doing things you love, spending time with loved ones,...
Not everything has to be about ones productivity.
Our time is way too short to spend everything producing things that will likely be forgotten or not used anymore in 75 years.
We must not forget to live life.
I don't need to win a knife fight against an opponent who poisons himself. And, well, we're on HN: as we all know, burnout will pretty quickly put you out of the fight.
I've read that twice now. Just as interesting, funny and depressing both times.
Can I recommend you try an audio book? I have found that most of the time I do chores, like dishes, fixing stuff around the place, the treadmill or even the shower can be quite enjoyable when listening to an audio book.
Any automatic mundane task which you are already expending time on can easily be overlaid with audio.
A fun example is that I am listening to "Countdown to Day Zero: Stuxnet" which was recommended here! I ended up enjoying the book for an hour, and at the end of it, the kitchen was spotless.
Until pretty recently, if I found myself reading a book that I found boring, or too dense, or hard to get into, I would just get "stuck". I wouldn't be able to pay attention for long enough to make real progress, but it would "block" me from starting any other books.
Now I just abandon the book and move on to a different book that I haven't started reading yet. It makes a huge difference in my "book throughput", and reading books cover-to-cover is overrated in any case.
This is not an intolerance for complex ideas or difficult subjects. It is the same reaction I have to a set of bad instructions. That is to thrust them away and try for myself or find another source.
Edit: A little more succinctly, I trust authors less. I have less faith that because you've published a book you have something worth saying. I believe less that wrangling with your abstruse language will yield a reward worth struggling for. So when I encounter difficulty, I discard the coconut and seek an orange.
I wonder because as I've aged I don't have the patience to sit through a description of every blade of grass in a meadow...
Generally, I'm very much the same. Let's set the scene quick and get the characters doing stuff. I used to see intricate scene dressing as a skill now I see it as an indulgence. There are too many period films, mini-series and series with beautiful sets and costumes etc if I really want that. There I can marvel at them without much addition time cost.
>> Let's set the scene quick and get the characters doing stuff
As a reader, I find I have to slowly re-introduce deep reading -- even if I've just been away for a week or two. I usually do this by getting a physical book and a physical distraction device, usually my phone. I go to a place where there's nothing else in the room.
Then I read as much as I can until I feel "bothered" (beats me what the correct adjective is here. "Bored"?) At that point I pick up the distraction device and poke around: Twitter, Facebook, HN, and so on. I make an effort to put it down. Eventually I succeed, then back to reading.
Over a period of many cycles, my reading time gets up to close to an hour long. But it's a struggle.
I don't think I could do it with an e-book reader. In those things, they put the distraction stuff just a click away. Hell, they'll sell you more distraction stuff you can play the millisecond you get bored with the text.
What I'd like to know is whether I'm some weird outlier or whether many other readers are going through this same process.
As a book writer, I tried as hard as possible to plug into a feedback loop with my readers. I ran beta groups, I emailed extensively to find out what worked and what didn't. All of the communication, as far as I could tell, collapsed into some version of "Make it take five minutes so I can go consume more material" Hey, I'm with you, but some things can't be covered in five minutes. Some things require a narrative and background for you to make sense of it, dear reader. What to do then?
(Add: Had one beta reader assure me that he already understood all the stuff around the first third of the book and I was wasting his time. So I jumped him directly to the second third. He was completely lost. I thought about cross-indexing the book to show how each part was used later, but what the heck would that accomplish, aside from reassuring myself that the text was needed? It is a frustrating problem from both sides.)
1. Shameless book plug: https://leanpub.com/info-ops
I have owned some model of Kindle for six years now. For each device I have owned, I put it in airplane mode as soon as I took it out of the box and I kept it that way. (I generally download what I want to read from pirated ebook communities, so no need to deal with an online bookshop’s ecosystem.) It is not hard to avoid distractions of being sold more stuff.
I noticed myself doing this while watching a movie. Even at suspenseful moments, I press "pause" and pick up my phone to browse around HN and Facebook. After a while I continue watching, but then five or ten minutes later I'm back on the phone.
This sounds reinforcing. I understand you have to fight through the boredom a bit, but not sure giving yourself a quick fiddle on your phone is optimal.
My first ereader did not have wifi. For me, the absence was a feature. Still, I now have a Kobo which has wifi, but I don't find it a distraction at all. Everything is pretty slow - if I wanted to browse the web, it's easier to put down the ereader and do it on my PC or phone. So for me, there isn't any distraction at all.
Been there, done that. I blame several things:
(a) the Internet, of course.
(b) I am much pickier about what I read. In the past I would have simply said "the language is poor, but the story is good" etc. Now, such things really bother me and I don't want to continue.
(c) I somehow lost my ability to read without subvocalization (actually, I know why, but it's really hard to get it back). Extremely annoying!
I soon found that even if I managed to pick a book up, it’d have to be really great for me not to start questioning if it was worth the time.
I did take a few courses related to work, where I had to read books and articles, but I don’t count those because they were part of studying, so reading them had a specific purpose of getting me good grades at whatever certification/examination came with the course.
Then a few years ago I started listening to audiobooks, and it’s really changed things. Now I “read” one or two books a month. Sometimes it’s stuff like Sapiens, other times it’s the new world of Warcraft novel, but both kinds have really improved the quality of my life. I do have two hours of commute each day, where the audiobook fits in perfectly. I used to fill it with music and podcasts, but for me the books have been a huge improvement exactly because of the depth.
I think the level of absorption is as high if not higher than reading but I have been wondering if it 'counts' (and wondering what I mean by that).
With audiobooks we're not practicing the physical scanning of words (assuming that's a skill which can deteriorate) and difficult sentences are definitely easier to follow when stressed by a good voice actor. That said I think we're still picking up vocabulary, empathizing and learning which feel like the biggest wins of reading a variety of books.
Obviously I didn't enjoy all of the books on the list, but even the ones I kind of slogged through felt like they contained more... knowledge (wisdom?)
I'm also really into sci-fi and fantasy, so I've been working my way down awards lists like the Hugos. The books on these lists also seem more high bandwidth, with the bonus of giving you exposure to a bunch of different authors who have mostly all written a bunch of stuff that's similar to whatever won them the award.
I think this is good advice. I try to follow it for the most part, but obviously I don’t apply that to technical material. Still, I bet if you read Euclid instead of O’Reilly you’d end up a pretty good programmer.
Paradoxes are fun, but dangerous to organize your life around.
(When driving I think it's better and safer to listen to something you can easily drift into and out of, like music or a podcast you don't feel the need to follow closely, rather than a book.)
Audiobooks are perfect while commuting, working out, and doing chores. During the times I'd have time to read a physical book, I read a technical one, a comic book, or a video game instead.
Choosing delayed gratification in the form of good, rich, long-form writing is a lot like choosing a balanced diet. The benefits of traipsing through difficult texts may not be readily apparent but doing so invariably pays dividends for years to come.
The thing about the five-paragraph essay is its structure scales well to longer articles. You state your main idea up front, then spend a bit of time elaborating on that main idea, then you wrap up. Online articles are like -- they pick a source, say, a college professor or someone with a new book out. Then they spend half the article or more talking about their source's early childhood, failed marriage and/or relationship with their dog, anything that might have a loose tenuous relationship with the main idea. THEN they hit you with the main idea, then they pad out their essay with quotes from the source, whom by now you have "gotten to know". It's infuriating, but I guess the idea is to tease a main idea with the headline, then keep you slogging through barely relevant detail long enough to show you quite a few ads before wrapping up with stuff that relates what was teased to you, even if the body doesn't justify the headline. Clickbait, in other words.
When I want people to summarize links they post, it's not because I have a short attention span or categorically refuse to read them. It's because I want to know the broad sketches of what it's claiming so that I know whether I need the extra detail (sorry, "color") it provides vs. whether it's citing a study or argument I'm already familiar with (or is even a relevant point to make).
Try paying for something that's behind a hard paywall and you'll see shorter articles.
In any case, I find reading a physical book to be more enjoyable and effective (in terms of retention and recall) than reading on a digital screen.
Perhaps the the worst consistent example is the New Yorker - I just read, uh ok, skimmed, a piece about Elliot hedge fund. It's many many pages long, but could be summarized in a paragraph, or a page, to add some supporting examples.
But, there's a big difference between reading for information, and reading for pleasure/escape.
I get quite frustrated by information pieces fluffed into literature, but can still find the time for engrossing stories and captivating writing.
Another effective way to absorb the main points quickly is to Youtube the author giving a longish talk about his/her book, typically Talks at Google or some such. Or a podcast in which the author discusses the book.
In Dune most of the narration follows a protagonist that navigates the world. In A Song of Ice & Fire there is not a single protagonist. There are multiple characters that are elevated to the same level of importance. Covering world events from each point of view requires more pages. Having multiple characters that are the same level of importance is one of the hallmarks of the series. When starting to read the series a person is usually told that they will not be able to predict who will die. This is a key element of the story telling process.
A Song of Ice and Fire has more named minor characters and a wider range of named minor characters. In my opinion this makes the world more rich and represents a deep understanding of the entire society. Dune deals primarily (99% or more) with aristocrats and their servants/warriors. A Song of Ice and Fire will talk about everyone from Kings to poor fisherman.
I find the older the book, the slower and more waffly (if you want to be uncharitable) its prose. I haven't looked into this at all, but it always feels to me like editors are a new edition to the writing process.
Ironically I usually really enjoy the actual prose they wrote, because it's often beautiful, but after dozens and dozens of pages of hearing about how pious some bishop is you have no context for you really start to wish Victor Hugo would just move the fuck on.
Our aesthetics have changed, that is for sure.
In some cases older writers were actually paid per word. Dickens comes to mind.
For what it's worth, in SF & Fantasy short fiction is still hanging in there:
You're the second person I see in this thread complaining that texts have become too bloated and using this exact example. Perhaps the guy is just a hack.
In terms of bloat, excluding the Tale of Genji or the Story of the Stone, I can hardly think of anything in the 1800s that pushes into the 1M+ word mark in order to tell a complete story. I mean, people used to joke about War & Peace being long and it's hovering around 1/2 a million words -- and at least when I read it, Tolstoy seemed to be using every last one of them.
You might like Flaubert, who was a perfectionist when it came to the words he had to put down on paper. From the wiki (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gustave_Flaubert#Perfectionist...):
> Flaubert famously avoided the inexact, the abstract, the vaguely inapt expression, and scrupulously eschewed the cliché. (...) Flaubert believed in, and pursued, the principle of finding "le mot juste" ("the right word"), which he considered as the key means to achieve quality in literary art.
What I DON'T do is watch TV. We don't own a TV, don't have a netflix subscription any longer, and I see movies about once every 3-4 months. I do watch Youtube, but not ads...I wonder how much of an attention problem while reading is actually internet related and how much is media related.
This is completely non-scientific, but I feel like your body adjusts to what you train it to. Media and TV in particular train you to appreciate interruptions, shallower and half-hour to hour-long stories. The internet and mobile trains you to however you use it...if it's facebook, maybe reloading the feed every 30 seconds isn't the best thing to train your attention? But there is plenty of deep reading content on the web as well.
My biggest challenge has been with what I consider poorly written documentation for things. If I'm really busy and just want to use something to get one thing done, but can't because I have to read the documentation thoroughly in order to understand the special way a particular tool works, it can be excruciatingly difficult to force myself to read that.
I do this too, so I've started keeping a small notebook and pen in my bag. When my mind starts to wander, I write my thoughts into the notebook. I don't know why or how it works, but getting the thoughts onto a page gets them out of my head, which lets me focus.
The only thing I can read cover-to-cover is fiction. Often documentation and emails if I'm convinced they're useful. Anything else my brain gets stuck in skimming mode and I have to concentrate harder on reading every word than the content itself.
100% describes me. Haven’t found a solution yet.
Two things got me going reading books again: 1) not getting that much from blog posts and not learning enough from coworkers and 2) friends I looked up to who read much more than me. Three years ago I forced myself to read 2 technical books. Two years ago I read 8. Last year I read 40 and this year I'm on track for 50+ (33 so far).
At first I could only make myself put in time to read advanced books on programming and architecture. But in time I was able to force myself to read (older) fiction as well as books on economics, finance, psychology, management, writing and history.
These days it's easy enough to keep myself on track because I feel like I'm losing ground to myself if I don't keep reading. There's so much to learn and while I can never get it all, I've internalized the drive.
I cannot recommend enough reading about psychology, history, finance and programming/architecture/management to fellows in tech. These topics apply so clearly and frequently in life/at work.
If you're curious I'm on Goodreads with this username.
Usually I have a fiction book going at all times. Keeps me sharp, interested, engaged, even if I don't feel like being "productive". But apart from that, there are so many things I'm working on, I feel a bit muddled.
Do you have any advice for a dude like me? How to know when to read or do what? Especially when you don't have a preference at a particular moment in time?
As I've gotten older, my tolerance for blather has dropped like a stone, though. And some authors blather and yammer. E.g., a certain popular author lovingly details the military details of his space ships, which is really irrelevant to pretty much the entire rest of the book. Wish he'd keep that stuff in his private notefiles.
For non-fiction, I am, when I have the time, gripped by it to a great degree... although I confess I straight up fell asleep the other weekend.
I also note that my attention tends to wander a lot more than it used to when I'm bored. Some of this I attribute to the US national mood; some of it I attribute to Sturgeon's law and my increased sensitivity. And some of it I attribute to the dopamine hits social media gives us. I also wonder about experience and pattern matching - I'm 34, not 14. I've seen a fair bit of stuff before.
Another thing that I want to remark on - the non-fiction world is, simply put, a fascinating place that can be explored at will, to arbitrary depths, at this point. Fiction authors have to compete with, e.g., people on Twitter talking about their sessile spiny oysters and showing pictures of them off. If I was a hair less sleepy this morning, I might have spent 20 minutes learning about spiny oysters - where in 2004 I might have read a fiction paperback instead. So perhaps, in a certain subset of the population, we're all turning into the people who would have read the encyclopedia for fun, with its short articles on fascinating topics.
What blathering is to some, is worldbuilding for others. Personally, I read all 5 GoT books (the first three were the best, the last two were meh) and GRRM is really good in describing food ... man my mouth always started watering reading those passages of banquets and feasts.
It seems like she has trained herself to read a certain way and then blames the world around her for her own actions. Spending time online doesn't have to affect your reading behaviour, especially if you practice self awareness.
Many libraries let you listen to unlimited free audiobooks using the Libby app (honestly a life-changer for me).
I had a similar, but opposite problem most of my life since computers came along. In high school, I started reading technical books on programming. Along with my textbooks, of course. Around my junior year, I realized that I'd lost the ability to just smoothly flow through 'light' text. I'd obsessively rescan paragraphs if I'd missed a single word.
About once a decade, I'd realize that I'd lost the ability to read fiction for pleasure and make it a point to redevelop the skill. My last bout was reading everything by Murakami.
Maybe her mind is just wandering, because in my opinion the key to fiction is allowing yourself to skip minor details and let your brain figure it out as you go.
Semantic dyslexia, perhaps.
As the back cover of my current book, Thank You, Jeeves, says: "Wodehouse always lifts your spirits, no matter how high they happen to be already."
Also, it's true that reading whole books is one way to get information. But plenty of great writers/readers have used reading methods where they distill the essence of the work or actively search out portions to put their emphasis on, and it worked out great for them. I was guilty of reading plenty of newsletters too seriously or reading through whole articles from the beginning to the end, even though reading on might produce very little additional information whatsoever. Now I have learned to better focus my energy: sometimes I skim the headlines, sometimes I skim the first and last paragraphs of an article, and I've already got 70% of what they have to say. Of course one might say that reading books can be something different to reading lower-quality news articles, but in the end time is really limited and "actual work" is something that gets done with your own hands, your own exploration and experience, not by reading and talking. This holds especially true for engineering work. One can't conceivably read whole reference manuals end to end without having actually built something serious with the tools being discussed. That's just pure procrastination, not real learning. Of course there are really well written or foundational books that deserve to be read cover to cover, accompanied with practices, and if one is reading for leisure on their spare time it's also totally fine to enjoy every line of a fiction. But I guess in terms of "getting things done", emphasizing "complete reading" instead of "getting the essence and doing" can be a bit misleading.
tl;dr: I think if there's anything worth emphasizing in this age of information explosion, that is "just get real shit done already" instead of "just read the book and lose yourself/procrastinate potentially endlessly". This is something that has cost me very dearly and I'll ensure in the future to avoid this trap as best as I can.
As I had less time, I did not enjoyed filler action/sci-fi/etx books anymore. And to this day, I did not found consistent source of interesting books for adult me. Some manga came close, but the rest I rarely cared to finish.
Also once you've read some of the best authors in the genre everything else is just less impressive
2. Prepare lunch and dinner such that I have about 15 minutes of waiting time each time.
3. Read during this waiting time
After two days of reading this way, if I am not enjoying the book, then I drop it and move on.
"Demanding text"? "unnecessarily difficult words and sentences"? "snakelike constructions"?
Who described the book as such, Beavis and Butthead? Herman Hesse is at the young adult fiction level of difficulty (and in Europe has been traditionally read by adolescents).
This is an excellent ad-blocker, available for Firefox, Chrome, Edge & macOS Safari. It's well worth using; the only time I see clickbait is when I use someone else's computer.
> She had, she concluded, “changed in ways I would never have predicted. I now read on the surface and very quickly; in fact, I read too fast to comprehend deeper levels
Here she lays the blame solely on her, but I would think that it's also a writer's skill to hook the reader.
It takes two to tango, and if she felt the narrative was so slow she started to skim the sentences and ended up missing the deeper parts, perhaps the book could have used some trimming, better pacing, or a different approach to present the subject.
I feel that while we tend to read faster in general, we also read a lot more volume than the previous generations and I genuinely think we are pretty optimised to understand a lot very fast.
There is a ton of last century news articles or magazines that are unbearably slow and very diluted. Sometimes there will be deeper thoughts buried there, but 98% of the times it's not, which is depressing.
Even nowadays, there is a cute TLDR bot on reddit, and from times to times reading the original article really doesn't bring anything more than what the bot put in a more succinct way.
The return can be entertainment, practical info on a legal subject, or thought provoking opinions on a message board.
But the worst the text is written, the higher the return needs to be for the reader to continue reading.
When you pick up a copy of Fahrenheit 451 one thing you notice is how thin it is. To Kill a Mockingbird is another example. There are plenty of others.
Now I wonder if that wasn't an indirect response to ponderous tomes like Moby Dick and War and Peace? Maybe the authors who grew up with those books realized that brevity was a virtue and learned to tamp back their natural urges to digress into long rambling and ultimately pointless interludes?
War and Peace and Moby Dick are both exceptionally compelling, by the way, and the latter was actually much more appreciated in the early 20th Century than when it was written.
So I started reading paper books again. The context switch into paper is relatively expensive, so I'd stay there, not cutting over to the internet. I started reading serious material again. From there, my spouse gave me her unused Kindle Paperwhite (she reads a ton on her iPad, so she doesn't use the Paperwhite), and I found the Paperwhite gave me most of the Kindle advantages without the multipurpose device disadvantages.
Next, I cut back seriously on my social media. I went cold turkey on Facebook for a bit (and on Twitter shortly after), and I consciously avoid bad FB habits. Nonetheless, it's an addiction machine, and when I do use it again, I realize that cold turkey is probably better.
Without social media apps on my phone, I find myself with a Kindle app instead. Much better!
When I was 20 or so and reading very heavily (I had a job that gave me four hours of sitting time in half hour chunks, so I read a lot), I started a self-control process of reading one fiction and one non-fiction book simultaneously - at that time, to make sure I read plenty of non-fiction. Now, I have to make myself read fiction instead. I seem to have settled that divide by reading fiction on my phone, and non-fiction on my Kindle.
Audiobooks and podcasts have been a change for me, too. I started with a serious audiobook on a road trip (The Order of Time, by Carlo Rovelli). From there, I blew through all 120 episodes of the Philosophize This! podcast. A new job has me on an ugly commute for the first time in years, so I'm filling that time in the car with Hardcore History (the monstrous six hour Celtic Holocaust episode about the Roman invasion of Gaul), and foreign language vocabulary study (Spanish).
Having a proper reading habit of an hour or two a day on average has me back to reading heavy things. I've read a lot of history this year, and I'm currently back to reading philosophy (Simone de Beauvoir and Herbert Marcuse). Plus, I'm managing to dig through a backlog of software industry books, mostly DevOps things I'd missed out on before.
It's so much better than social media.
Good recommendation (based on the first episode anyway).
But you're missing out on a person's voice. Prose can be as beautiful as any piece of visual art in a gallery. Not only are you depriving yourself of an aesthetic experience, but also a learning experience. Reading will boost your vocabulary and help your writing and give you more cultural references to pull from (and recognize, when they come up in another's work).
But...if you can't be assed, you can't be assed, I suppose.
Sure, but people who enjoy art don't write high-and-mighty articles titled "Just Go to MOMA Already." "Readers" act like these aesthetic experiences are something that are universally important.
> Reading will boost your vocabulary and help your writing and give you more cultural references to pull from
But this is only valuable if you're writing for other "readers" (which typically you're not).
For many people, "prose" is just what you have to get through to find out what happens in the plot or to the characters. A lot of people have a minimal appreciation for most forms of art and literature is far more subtle and unappreciated than visual and auditory forms of art.
> Not only are you depriving yourself of an aesthetic experience, but also a learning experience. Reading will boost your vocabulary and help your writing and give you more cultural references to pull from (and recognize, when they come up in another's work).
I'm not sure what the inherent merit you see in boosting one's vocabulary is. I know a lot of words that I never use and no one I know ever uses. If I didn't know them, my life wouldn't be any different.
Reading is important for writers but most of us aren't writers. The vast majority of us that are writers write things like emails, internet comments, and work related documents. Not the kind of thing that reading fiction is going to help with.
As for cultural references, culture has been trending away from literature and towards movies and television for a very long time. I'd go so far as to say that in modern American culture, you're not going to be missing anything by not reading books.
Anyways, it's not that people "can't be assed", it's that books don't hold the same value for them that they hold for you. There's nothing wrong with that.
can't be assed -> can't be bothered -> doesn't hold literature in high-regard -> I suppose - > okay.
Anyway, spice-of-life, and all that. To each, their own. Etc.