But McGinty has found a bright spot in his decreasing level of concentration: he has something in common with today's young people.
"Yet I take comfort in knowing that my own brand of functional illiteracy has brought me closer to the youth of today who, according to a new report, are also finding it easier to put a book down than pick a book up."There is new concern that all the online reading of blogs and short pieces that young people are doing nowadays has decreased their ability to concentrate on one subject long enough to finish an entire book. Sue Palmer, a literary consultant quoted in the piece, explains the concern this way:
"By reading a book, you are building up the stamina to absorb words for a longer period of time. What you are doing is gradually locking brains with the author, which you do not really do in quite the same way when you read chunks of a magazine or chunks of text on a screen. This personal interaction going on in your head is that thing that's special about reading a book and the pleasure of that is what, in the end, turns someone into a reader."That's an interesting thought. I can only speak for myself, of course, and I admit that my reading habits were firmly in place a few decades before I began to spend so much time on the internet. About the only change in my reading habits that I've noticed is a tendency to read anywhere from six to 10 books at the same time, reading in chunks of 25-35 pages and moving on to another partially read book. That might very well be the result of my internet usage, but it comes more from being exposed to so many great books that I would have missed out on completely in the "old days" than from any new inability to concentrate on the written word for long stretches of time. Now, I'm always excited about starting a new book and I find that I can't be bothered to read them one-at-a-time.
Oddly enough, I think this relatively new habit of mine ensures that I get more out of most books than I would have gotten out of them by reading them singly. I don't find myself daydreaming the way I used to and having to go back to reread four or five pages to see what in the world I had just missed. Now, if that starts to happen, I know it's time to put one book down and pick up the next one in the stack. I probably shouldn't admit it but I even go so far as to place the last book read from on the bottom of the stack and only pick it up again when it is back on top. I almost always get to each of the books on any given day and, more importantly, I never seem to get bored with them.