Tuesday, 10 November, 2015
I would like to read a bit more than I do, but between work, writing, and procrastinating, little time is left in the day for such things.
Maybe this difficultly in reading is not so bad though, thinkers and experts in such matters have had reservations about reading for millennia, fearing those who partook might be doing themselves all sorts of mental and emotional harm. Booksellers it seems were deemed to be especially vulnerable, on account of the volume of reading they surely did:
By the late 18th and early 19th century, science was invoked to legitimise health warnings about reading. In his Medical Inquiries and Observations Upon the Diseases of the Mind (1812) – the first American text on psychiatry – Benjamin Rush, a founding father of the United States, noted that booksellers were peculiarly susceptible to mental derangement. Recasting Seneca’s ancient warnings in the language of psychology, Rush reported that booksellers were prone to mental illness because their profession required the “frequent and rapid transition of the mind from one subject to another”.
books, psychology, reading
Wednesday, 22 July, 2015
Which of the above two paragraphs do you find easier to read, or comprehend? That on the left, as formatted normally, or the text to the right, that features Asym spacing?
But one tech company believes something as simple as increasing the size of spacing between certain words could improve people’s reading comprehension. Research going back decades has found that “chunking”, a technique that separates text into meaningful units, provides visual cues that help readers better process information.
I can’t say I noticed much difference, but maybe an instance where Asym spacing is used more extensively, such as in the very article I’m linking to, would be the go?
psychology, reading, writing
Monday, 8 June, 2015
Reading for six minutes can reduce stress by about two-thirds, says some 2009 University of Sussex research, so more reading might therefore be a good thing. But with so much reading material to choose from, and so little time to partake, what to do?
Obtain a bookmark, and read a little each day? That might work, but if it’s a feeling of accomplishment you desire, such as reading a book in a single, less than sixty minute sitting, then these suggestions, that include titles by Annie Proulx, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Stephen King, Edgar Allan Poe, and Elizabeth Kaye, might just fit such a bill.
books, psychology, reading
Wednesday, 18 February, 2015
I always think that reading a book – especially one that you like – several times is a good idea, but what about sitting down to the same title one hundred times? There’s little doubt that you’d become more than familiar with the subject matter that’s for certain, and it’s a process that Canadian writer Stephen Marche swears by.
I read Hamlet a 100 times because of Anthony Hopkins. He once mentioned, in an interview with Backstage magazine, that he typically reads his scripts over a 100 times, which gives him “a tremendous sense of ease and the power of confidence” over the material. I was writing a good chunk of my doctoral dissertation on Hamlet and I needed all the sense of ease and power of confidence I could muster.
books, education, reading
Wednesday, 15 October, 2014
It occurs to me I’m not reading enough books at the moment. Therefore I read “To Kill a Mockingbird” last week, and am about to start “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” by Hunter S. Thompson, after I’ve read “Life in Half a Second”, by Matthew Michalewicz, a tome I think I need to read. And absorb.
I’ve had to cut back on the movies I watch to do achieve though, but I’ve probably been a little over-weight films these last few years anyway.
Long story short, I’m often on the look out for reading ideas, so this list of the favourite books of people such as Bill Murray, Michelle Obama, Robin Williams, Olivia Munn, Hillary Rodham Clinton, James Franco, and forty-four other “cultural icons”, might have come along at just the right time.
books, reading, writing
Wednesday, 8 October, 2014
This is why we struggle to make it through our reading lists… books, articles, websites, social media, what have you. If time to take in all this material is broken down into “life points”, then we are possessed of a maximum of forty million of these units as of age five.
Given how much there is to potentially read though, likely many trillions of life points worth, if not much more, it quickly becomes clear that care must be taken in how this all too limited supply of points is allotted.
If you live in a developed nation, your average life span is about 80 years. Most children learn to read at 5 years-old, so we only have about 39.5 million life points to invest in consuming content. Of course, this presumes you do not sleep, and instead lay in bed for eight hours each night, flicking through shit on your phone.
books, reading, trends
Friday, 2 May, 2014
This came up in conversation a few weeks ago, what is to become of libraries in a world where books and publications are increasingly becoming digital?
As at the New York Public Library, the books are making a quiet last stand against the techno-historical forces pushing them aside. It seems unlikely they’ll hold onto their real estate for very long. The desktops are, for now, essential for a significant but shrinking slice of the population – mostly poor and elderly people – who can’t reliably access the Internet from home or on a mobile device. Eventually, the Venn diagram of those who lack smartphones and those who lack homes may nearly overlap exactly. Libraries are well positioned to serve many of the needs of this demographic, the dispossessed of the digital age.
book, reading, technology, trends
Wednesday, 23 April, 2014
You’re probably skim reading these very words as your eyes quickly scan through what’s on offer here today. That’s ok, I don’t mind, that why’s I try to be as succinct as possible. Besides, I’m just happy you’re here in the first place.
Online content and information has made skim-readers out of us all, but here’s the problem, we’re taking this ability to seek out key words and essential tidbits of data, and applying it to reading situations where we need to actually read, as in absorb, each and every word, to the point we’re no longer taking in as much as we used to:
Humans, they warn, seem to be developing digital brains with new circuits for skimming through the torrent of information online. This alternative way of reading is competing with traditional deep reading circuitry developed over several millennia. “I worry that the superficial way we read during the day is affecting us when we have to read with more in-depth processing,” said Maryanne Wolf, a Tufts University cognitive neuroscientist and the author of “Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain.”
neuroscience, reading, trends
Friday, 11 April, 2014
Tired of people offering up unwelcome spoilers for films and TV shows? If said persons are book readers there may be a way to get a little of your own back though, by way of this reasonably extensive list of book spoilers.
Published on 1 April I know, but I believe the… summaries are accurate. For the most part anyway.
books, reading, spoilers
Monday, 10 March, 2014
Scanning the pages of book, left to right, up to down, is not the most efficient way to read it seems. Time is wasted as our eyes have to keep changing direction to take in what is written on the page.
A better idea, that would also allow us to read a lot faster, would be for each word of a book to display in the same, fixed, spot. That way the words would do the moving rather than our eyes. It’d kind of be like watching the carriages of a train pass along a rail track if you’re standing perfectly still.
The basis of Spritz concept is that much of the time spend reading is “wasted” on moving your eyes from side to side, from one word to the next. By flashing the words quickly, one after the other, all in the same place, eye movement is reduced almost to zero. All that’s left is the time you take to process the word before the next one appears.
ebooks, reading, technology