Thursday, February 21, 2013

Snacking My Way Through The Internet

What does it mean to read?  I usually have defined it by the number of books I've read.  "Do you read? Yes, I read ten books last year."  Things changed a bit in 2011.  I stopped buying books.

Part of it was I was trying to save money for my 2011 Camino.  I switched from buying books to checking them out from the library.  This didn't work out so well because most of the books I wanted to read were not at my local library so I had to request them and then wait, often for three or four weeks, for the books to come in.  The number of books I read dropped 30% from the previous year

Things have changed again.  I haven't read a book since the first of the year.  Not a one.  That does not mean I haven't read anything though.  I read both magazines and online articles.  I used to save articles that I came across on the internet to services like Instapaper and Pocket.  Both of these services allow you to save articles so you can read them later.  The only problem was I didn't read the stuff I saved because it was awkward to read the articles on the desktop or the laptop.   This year, now that I've been using my Nexus 7 tablet and the Pocket app, I can read the saved articles anytime I want (even without an internet connection).  It's quite comfortable to read articles on my tablet and it's small enough to hold while lounging on the couch or in bed.

So I am reading things but, being the quantifying type of guy, I can't figure out how to measure if I'm reading more or less than I have in the past.  Magazine articles and online articles are not paginated the same as books so it really isn't possible to just add up the pages read like I've done in the past.

And what about quality?  Are National Geographic magazine articles or online articles of the same quality as a good book?  They are definitely shorter.  I wonder if the same amount of thought was put into the articles as was put into a well researched and edited book.  I seriously doubt it.

And then there is fiction.  My magazines and online articles are all non-fiction.  My only source of fiction in the past has been books and apparently it still is.  I could include television shows but is watching a show on the boob-tube the same as reading a book?  I think not.

So I'm in an odd place.  I feel like I'm reading more but it is all magazine and internet articles.  I feel I should be reading books (real or eBook ... they are the same to me) but the shorter forms are easier to fit in my schedule.  I guess you could say that reading is like food: I should eat a few well balanced meals (books) but I usually end up eating many small snacks (online articles) throughout the day instead.

Maybe it's time for me to reevaluate my reading habits ... and my need to quantify everything.

4 comments:

  1. Go with the flow, my friend. If you feel like reading books, read books. If, right now, shorter material is to your taste, then go with the shorter material. Forcing yourself to read a certain type of material just because you "should" will probably result in you enjoying whatever you're reading less. Live a little more in the moment. (And stop quantifying! ;) )

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    1. GH: I am going with the flow. I'm just sure I'm maximizing my reading enjoyment.

      As for stopping to quantify ... yeah ... right ... will never happen.

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  2. Life is too short to second-guess everything :)Have a sunny day!

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    1. Miss McC: You are , as always, correct. Thanks. You too.

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