The Effect of Reading Nicholas Carr's "The Shallows" on E-Reading: Just Say No to Distractions

So here’s a little (naive) gem in the NY Times this morning, an article about the lure of online distractions while e-reading titled “Finding Your Book Interrupted … By the Tablet You Read It On,” which contains this quote: “Can you concentrate on Flaubert when Facebook is only a swipe away, or give your true devotion to Mr. Darcy while Twitter beckons?” Here’s a ground-shaking idea: Get off Facebook/Twitter for a minute, you twit! Concentrate. Focus. Have some discipline, maybe? Now part of me acknowledges that’s easier said than done—not the ignoring Facebook part, as I have yet to drink the Kool-Aid of Facebook userdom, though the plastic cup is beckoning. No, the bigger picture, of having discipline and ignoring other more tempting aspects of the Internet—such as all the cool stuff—that’s what I know is easier said than done. But not impossible. Self-discipline seems to be out of vogue of late.
Which leads me to another mention of Nicholas Carr’s The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains (2010), still my favorite book of 2012 (finished at the very start of the year). It’s technical in a good way, explaining various science about the way memory works and how web surfing can affect that process in a negative way. It also contains some convincing defenses of the effects of e-reading and internet data availability by various scientists, which is to say it’s not a lopsided, anti-Internet rant.
What do I find most important about it? After reading it I’m more than ever aware of the temptation to surf away from what I’m reading, and to be distracted. I find it easier to resist that allure, being aware of it. Most of my reading right now is either in e-books or online, though I did just read two new print books in the last month—and two new e-books, too. Plus I dabbled in a number of others, including Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom, supposed to be a Great Novel, which I found to be a Great Bore. I’m going to try to finish it, but the beginning is trite and tedious, all about yuppie families, hohum.
Here’s the url to that NY times article, and a picture of Nicholas Carr:

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