From 15 years of surfing, I've experienced many of the brain and concentration effects mentioned in this book. The Shallows has many good points on the cognitive perils of trying to read in a distraction-rich environment. I'm hoping that the narrative part of my brain at least has been preserved by listening to many, many audiobooks over the past 10+ years, including The Shallows.
An issue I find with audiobooks is that frequently, as with The Shallows, the reader reads slowly (but thankfully clearly). To compensate, I have to run the book at 2X on my iphone to get it up to a pace that more closely matches the best speed for full use of my brain's darting focus. Fortunately 2X doesn't distort it too much, and it's not ideal, but it works better than the alternative, which is going to sleep or into a reverie.
While I was hoping that the author would suggest leaning heavily on audiobooks to save the eyes (mine are over 50 years old and tire easily), free the hands and allow real focus on the material, the author seemed to have missed this point. Maybe he's not a big audiobook listener. I'm primarily a non-fiction kind of guy, but when you are talking fiction and a great reader is involved (Scott Brick, Kate Reading, Michael Kramer and Humphry Bower come to mind as amazing performers that add hugely to the experience, making it vicarious (see Influencer: the power to change anything for more info)). All versions have their use, but I'm for saving trees, space and paper when I don't know the book.
Other than that big missing (audiobooks), this book suffers from a lot of theme repetition (OK, I get it that paper books have a certain aesthetic, but usually my experience is with a paper version, I end up skimming much more than with an audiobook (skimming is almost zero) or kindle version). My issue, I realize, but it could be my brain was damaged by that 5 years 10 years ago of surfing without audiobook protection? So here's the cure, dear reader, not offered by the author: pleasure your brain with the audiobook version, buy the kindle version for reference, and get the paper version on acid free paper and nice binding to grace your shelf, please your eyes, and remind you that you did in fact, read that book.
Report Inappropriate Content