Friday, 7 March 2014

Internet vs. Books

Don’t laugh; it’s a struggle. I am a very lazy person, and when I come home from my part-time job (those four/eight hours of constant work! Moan! Sigh!) Or from wherever, I usually don’t feel like I want to indulge in the mental exercise reading can be. (I’m looking at you, Shakespeare.) What I do feel like is switching as many levers down in my head as possible and play some minecraft or scroll through 9gag, curled up in a blanket with one arm sticking out so I can reach the mouse.
Granted, not all books are like that. Some fantasy novels just absorb all my thoughts (Name of the Wind, Lord of the Rings, Robin Hobb’s many trilogies) but such books are hard to come by, and since I’m using this book-a-week challenge to broaden my literary horizons it’s unlikely that I’ll experience this addictive absorbing feeling often. (Although I heard a rumour I might be getting a fantasy novel for my birthday that’s supposed to be really good. You know who you are!)
I guess this is why many nine-to-five adults still read books like Harry Potter or the Hunger Games, although why anyone would enjoy a book written in first person present tense is beyond me, and why I’ve seen several mothers take a copy of twilight for themselves during my shifts at the library. And although I wouldn’t say no to reading Harry Potter for the fiftieth time (probably not such an exaggerated number as it ought to be) I feel like I need to read these other, older books that are more… literature-ey. Like the Shakespeare, Kafka, the Oscar Wilde. I don’t get nearly as much instant entertainment out of them as I do out of these books for teens, but they teach me what works or doesn’t in a book, and how books can be Different. With these books I don’t feel like I’m wasting my time, like I feel when I’m sitting in front of my laptop. Some books open worlds beyond my own ridiculously huge imagination, or make me ask questions, or make me see things from a different point of view. Sometimes I’m confronted with a quote that’ll pop back up in my mind when I’ll need it most; for example, when I was terrified of my first driver instructor, I kept thinking about Frodo’s words when Boromir offers to take the ring, to take the burden of his shoulders. “I’m afraid. Simply afraid.” – It didn’t mean he was about to quit.

And I get it, it’s all in how you use your internet connection. Going in full foetal mode isn’t what it’s supposed to be all about. Internet isn’t all about yogscast and memes, it’s also about millions of articles on Wikipedia, communities, a platform for your creativity.
It’s just hard to say no to the easy-to-please part of my brain. (nucleus accumbens, you whore.) One quick fix of cats falling down and looking quizzically because they’re not used to being  ungraceful, that’s what I promise, and then I’ll be productive. But it never happens. One video turns into three and a link to a .gif on tumblr or whatever of pets wearing sunglasses or tortoises humping footwear, and suddenly it’s one in the morning and you’re wondering if you can afford a mandolin.


This is why this challenge is doing me a world of good. It forces me have to make time for reading, plan which books I am about to read next, think about when I should write my reviews, and makes me spend more time researching opinions on Librarything . I try to make a habit out of posting something every Thursday, however I go climbing on some Thursdays and by the time I’m done with the workout my arms have turned into quivering jelly and I réally can’t do anything but scroll. So I write reviews as soon as I’ve finished a book, and, eh, review my reviews when I post them. This means I am being productive, reading a lot more (I’m about two or three books ahead of schedule right now so I can take more than a week to read bigger books) and reading more critically, bookmarking quotes I can use for the blog and comparing what I’m reading with other books. It’s a perfect harmony!
link to yogscast on youtube
link to yogscast on youtube

Until next time,


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