Reading at the Crossroads

Reading at the Crossroads is an archive for columns and letters which appeared in the Terre Haute Tribune Star. I also blog here when my patience is exhausted by what I feel is irritating, irrational and/or ironic in life. --gary daily

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Location: Terre Haute, Indiana, United States

The material I post on this blog represents my views and mine alone. The material you post on this blog represents your views and yours alone.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Is Reading on a Screen Reading?

When are we going to realize that readers of ten, twenty, forty years ago are not the same as the non-readers reared on iPhones and video games? I would guess that Daniel Akst (“Apple's tablet and the future of literature,” Los Angeles Times, Jan. 24, 2010) grew up a reader of traditional print sources. He stacked up a nice vault full of print on the page reading capital; acquired the skills of concentration, self-motivated imagination, and patience. This is what Daniel Akst's children and ours will be missing as books on screen blur and destabilize reading practices. (See Mary Anne Wolf's Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain.) And what will be there instead? Gone or severely compromised will be what readers of print on the page eagerly searched for and expected while reading a great book. All lost and/or diminished as screen readers dash to the next, and then the next, surface stimulus. Readers in the past sought comprehension and meaning; readers of screens surf and skim. And what should we expect from a generation raised on twittering?

[A version of this appeared in the LA Times, "Letters to the Editor," Jan. 31, 2010]

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