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The Lost Art of Reading: Why Books Matter in a Distracted Time Hardcover – October 12, 2010
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More About the Author
He is also the editor of "Another City: Writing from Los Angeles"; "Cape Cod Noir"; and the Library of America's "Writing Los Angeles: A Literary Anthology," which won a California Book Award. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, The Nation, The New York Times Book Review, Bookforum, Black Clock, Virginia Quarterly Review, AGNI, Zyzzyva, Columbia Journalism Review, and on National Public Radio's All Things Considered.
A 2015 Guggenheim Fellow, he is the former book critic, and book editor, of the Los Angeles Times.
Top Customer Reviews
He defines in many ways the purpose of books, the reading of them. There are other thoughts in here, musings on the 2008 elections, his son's assignment to read The Great Gatsby..
His thoughts on blogs, the internet, electronic comments and cyberspace and the change in books- e-books and I pods are included. He points out that kindle is private, no one can share the book unless you loan out your apparatus and not even you can stand in front of your book collection and peruse your titles. The new is not condemned, it just is not embraced wholeheartedly.
So join the revolution of the written page. This little book will make a great gift or a recollection to yourself of what reading is in this world. This book is a love poem to reading, books and the readers among us.
What purpose does The Great Gatsby and other works of literature serve in this warp speed world in which we live? Any reader of today will find that an interesting premise, particularly since it seems less and less people are interested in novels. We want an articulate advocate to explain the importance of literature, the reading equivalent of a slow food advocate. From reading various reviews of this book, many people think this book accomplishes the task. I don't.
The storyline that serves as the background for the inquiry is his son's disinterest in reading, and in particular his grumbling about the assignment to read The Great Gatsby. In order to help his son he decides to reread the book, and by the end of the book has done this, returning to his son with his insights and passions to share.Read more ›
David Ulin, while not entirely dismissing the digital out of hand, makes a very strong case that there is indeed a difference. Some of what he offers is factual, some of it anecdotal; but above all else, it's deeply personal, as he explains why reading in depth matters so much to him. And by extension, why it should matter equally as much to the rest of us.
What he's getting at here, it seems to me, is the notion of reading as a sort of sacred space, set apart from the demands & distractions of the everyday world. It's a space that's intensely private, a place of engagement between the reader & the written, where the individual mind (and perhaps soul) is shaped by the encounter with words, images & ideas. The book is presented as a separate world of its own, a construct made out of the writer's own life experience, education & psyche, into which the reader enters & is changed ... presumably for the better.
Here's where the doubts about the digital come in, as we consider just how many distractions are available to the online or plugged-in reader. We tell ourselves that we can multitask without any loss of focus or understanding -- we may even tell ourselves that we get more out of reading that way -- but the evidence for that seems to be lacking. A place apart from the everyday world is getting harder to find as the digital invades everything -- often quite willingly invited in, let's be honest!Read more ›
So, 'Hang Up and Read'. There's no reason to be plugged into everything with every gadget at every moment to every person for every reason for ever and ever. So, hang up your electronics and stare at the clouds until a new idea is born. Start with a fact from Pew Research which reports "84 percent of text-messaging adults say they send and receive texts 'just to say Hello'".
Okay. If you're reading a convention book and feel the need to say "Hello" to everyone who comes near, you'll get very little out of reading or social relationships. In other words, we get the most out of what we decide is most important. When driving, pay attention to "STOP" and other signs; at the end of a trip, can you recall any semblance of signs seen along the way?
Likewise with reading. The difference between reading and social relations was nicely summed up by a Inuit man many years ago. After seeing how visitors made marks on paper and later recited precisely what was said, he concluded witing meant, "Words stay put."
It's the essence of printing newspapers and books. "Words stay put" The idea goes back at least 8,000 years to Sumerians who put marks on clay balls to identify the contents; by looking at such marks, "readers" obtained precise information.
How would Ulin have reacted to the switch from clay tablets to papyrus scrolls to bound books? In other words, technology changes but content remains vital. The medium is not the message, as McLuhan said; the medium tickles our attention, the message is what we choose to remember.
Television glitters, but is mostly a wasteland.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
When I decided to begin reading this book, I thought it would be a great treatise on the place of reading in today's techno-driven world. Read morePublished 22 hours ago by Zachary Koenig
Though this is a short book, there were parts that seemed to drag on. However, it was a nice, insightful read, especially for people like me who love to read books about books.Published 19 months ago by Paula
Obviously I like reading. No wait, love is a better word. Give me a library over a sports game any day of the week. Half Price Bookstores are fatal to my bank account. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Keith Gorman
Very good condition. This book is confusing though. I'm not a native english. It makes me go back and forth searching words in dictionaryPublished on September 23, 2013 by Monalisa
First off, this is a really a fun book to hold in your hand--it's smaller than most hardcover books, making the experience of reading this physical book enjoyable. Read morePublished on March 1, 2013 by Kate Abbott
Interesting - a bit "all over the place" - has some good quotes from others about reading. But having been drawn in by the title, I was a bit disappointed.Published on February 3, 2013 by Kathleen F. Lamantia
I've read a number of books on the impact of digital technology on modern culture, and this slender tome is one of the best. Read morePublished on December 13, 2012 by AN
What is information overload doing to us? That is the question the author asks in this short little book. Read morePublished on November 30, 2012 by Mom of 3 book lovers