Recently I realised that I’ve changed how I read. I’m currently reading:
- A paperback novel: Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan
- Several novels on my Kindle
- Research books for The Painting
- A how-to book on writing
I don’t seem to be able to read one book at a time anymore. Some of this has to do with being a writer, but current lifestyle is also probably a factor.
When I was a child, everyone in my family would watch the same programme on television. There were only three channels until Channel 4 arrived in 1982. I remember the day well; the first programme was Countdown and getting a new channel was so exciting. There was no remote control then, so we’d watch one programme from beginning to end, including the adverts. Now if a programme doesn’t grab our attention within minutes, it’s easy to upgrade to something better. It’s the same with music. With records and cassettes we were more likely to listen to an album the whole way through. Now with CDs and MP3 players, it’s possible to switch songs in a second.
The increase in use of computers, tablets and smartphones also means our attention is rarely focussed on one thing for long.
When I read an e-book, I find myself flicking to others on the list I’ve downloaded. Sometimes I can’t wait to start a book I’ve heard about on Twitter or read about in a magazine/newspaper etc. Last month I decided to focus on one book at a time for a while and read two paperbacks from beginning to end: Peaches for Monsieur le Curé by Joanne Harris and Waiting for Sunrise by William Boyd. I found it easier to get lost in the world of these books this way.
I tend to stick with one book on holiday when my mind is clear and I'm away from technology. I’ve already started to download books in anticipation of this year’s summer holiday. I’ll be flying with a Kindle for the first time, so [hopefully] my suitcase won’t get one of those Heavy stickers at the check-in desk like it usually does!
Do you find it easy to read one book at a time?
More on e-books: