Becky's Reviews > The Lost Art of Reading: Why Books Matter in a Distracted Time

The Lost Art of Reading by David L. Ulin
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's review
Aug 21, 11

Read from August 16 to 21, 2011

the irony that I am on goodreads writing about this book isn't lost on me.
I think that everyone who teaches or studies literature in today's information-overloaded society should read this book. Or maybe everyone who is present in our information-overloaded society should read this book.
I liked it but it was a little stretched out (dry) at some parts. Probably was a great essay then he decided to make it into a book. Some parts of the book were a little too political for me (because that is one of the things he obsesses over during his technology indulgences).

"Even then, I knew I wanted to be a writer, had begun to read with an eye toward how a book or story was built, and if this was what it took, this overriding sense of consciousness, then I would never be smart enough. Now, I recognize this as one of the fallacies of teaching literature in the classroom the need to seek a reckoning with everything....Literature - at least the literature to which I respond - doesn't work that way; it is conscious yes, but with room for serendipity, a delicate balance between craft and art."

"I still recall the joy of contemplating that portrait, the way it made me feel as if a world had opened up in the palm of my hands. it is this, I think that draws us to books in the first place, their nearly magical power to transport us to other landscapes, other lives."

"I think, is something on which we can agree: to read, we need a certain kind of silence, an ability to filter out the noise...knowledge can't help but fall prey to illusion ,albeit an illusion that is deeply seductive, with its promise that speed can lead us to illumination, that is more important to react than to think deeply, that something must be attached to every bit of time. Here, we have my reading problem in a nutshell, for books insist we take the opposite position,that we immerse, slow down."

"We live in an era when everyone wants to tell his or her story, but there is no real sense of what story means anymore."

"...that by not asking questions, by reacting rather than thinking, we allow ourselves to be susceptible to all manner of lies."

"As readers, we are asked to slip inside the text, and if we can't help but bring our personalities and perceptions to the process, the participation required leads to an inevitable empathy."

"Information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation."

"My strategy for engaging it only leaves me with another set of questions. Such as: Does it enhance or diffuse the power of the novel to read it in conjunction with the computer to look up and literally watch the scenes take place? And: what does this mean for memory, for reading, for our own ability to invoke, and then evoke, a shared narrative dream?"

"Deep reading, says the study's lead researcher, Nicole Speer, 'is by no means a passive exercise.' the reader becomes the book."

"Reading a book was a meditative act, but it didn't involve a clearing of the mind. It involved a filling, or replenishing, of the mind. It involved a filling, or replenishing, of the mind. Readers disengaged their attention from the outward flow of passing stimuli in order to engage it more deeply with an inward flow of words, ideas, and emotions. ..The brain of the book reader was more than a literate brain. It was a literary brain."

"Reading, after all, is an act of resistance in a landscape of distraction, a matter of engagement in a society that seems to want nothing more than for us to disengage. It connects us at the deepest levels; it is slow, rather than fast. That is the beauty and its challenge: in a culture of instant information, it requires us to pace ourselves...I sit down. I try to make a place for silence. IT's harder than it used to be, but still, I read."

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