There are constraints put on a book that make it impossible to compete with things like video games. Some folks out there think that reading should be approached like exercise, as something that you do to “build the muscle” of attention and imagination. If this is correct (and I think it might be), then that makes reading a fundamentally different art form than what it has been presented as, namely an activity performed for leisure time, to relax, etc.
I’m trying to remember how it felt when I read all those Palahniuk/Ellroy/DFW books when I was a younger guy. That certainly didn’t feel like exercise to me. I enjoyed myself. Where did that go?
Many people don’t think of exercise as being fun, but that’s because they don’t exercise enough. Before my schedule filled up with baby time, I used to love going to the gym. The whole atmosphere, you’d walk in and people would be in this iron forest going beast mode. Then I’d go beast mode, hopped up on deer velvet and energy drinks, sometimes to the point that I’d get dizzy and need to sit down. Again…it doesn’t seem like all that much fun. But it is.
When I used to read a lot, was that like an endurance test? Was I having fun, pushing myself to read the next page? Now we’re getting somewhere.
See, on the internet, you don’t really have to push yourself to turn a page, because there are no pages to turn, and even if there were, on a site like Twitter, there’d almost never be enough content for any one thing to fill up even half a page. THREAD.
That pretty much settles it for me. Reading is almost 100% certainly contingent on not spending too much time on social media.
Now, how to make something fun enough that people want to keep turning pages…