I started this blog—ages ago, in internet time—to get my brain working, force myself to react to what I read, and put my thoughts in order. But I’ve never kept it up for very long at a stretch, and longer essays—“longer” in blog terms, anyway—are rare.
I feel like my attention span has atrophied. I’ve noticed I’m not as good a reader as I used to be. Not that I don’t still read quite a lot compared to most people—I finished 83 books last year, more than one a week. And have no problem with reading comprehension. But I read in bits. I’ve always had more than one book going at any given time, but these days I have several, and I rarely sit down with them for sustained periods: I sit through ten or twenty pages and my brain is off on something else.
Mind you, that’s still healthier than the voracious-but-stupid way I read when I was 12 or 13. Often I’d get through a book in a day, but I didn’t retain much. There are books I know I read around that time that left no trace in my memory. I suspect there are others I no longer recall having read at all. These days I remember what I read. But I suspect I’d absorb it even better if I could get back to the middle path I took in my late teens and early twenties: more than a couple of days, less than a couple of weeks.