Daily Archives: July 21, 2008

Deep reading and thinking

So, yes, you should be skeptical of my skepticism. Perhaps those who dismiss critics of the Internet as Luddites or nostalgists will be proved correct, and from our hyperactive, data-stoked minds will spring a golden age of intellectual discovery and universal wisdom. Then again, the Net isn’t the alphabet, and although it may replace the printing press, it produces something altogether different. The kind of deep reading that a sequence of printed pages promotes is valuable not just for the knowledge we acquire from the author’s words but for the intellectual vibrations those words set off within our own minds. In the quiet spaces opened up by the sustained, undistracted reading of a book, or by any other act of contemplation, for that matter, we make our own associations, draw our own inferences and analogies, foster our own ideas. Deep reading, as Maryanne Wolf argues, is indistinguishable from deep thinking.

From Nicholas Carr’s Is Google Making Us Stupid?

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Literary Gadgetry

I’ve just read John Hulme and Michael Wexler’s The Seems: The Split Second and enjoyed it as I did their first in the series, The Seems: The Glitch in Sleep. The basic premise is that there is a place called The Seems: “the place on the other side of the World responsible for generating what you see outside your window right now.” And when things go wrong gifted folks known as “Fixers” go out and”fix” them. In the first book, our hero Becker Drane is tapped to be a Fixer and, after training, quickly deals with a serious problem in The World — people having excessive sleeping difficulties. There is a Glitch, it seems, in The Department of Sleep. Read the book if you want to find out how it is repaired. As for the next book (out in September), a bigger and more dire situation is going on. A rebel group called The Tide appears bent on destroying The Seems; this time a bomb and time travel are involved. In both books, the appealing main character Becker, the multi-generational and multi-ethnic cast of characters, the clever world building, wonderful language play, and gripping plots make for engaging reads. In fact they remind me a lot of one of my favorite adult series, Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next books. In both series the authors couple clever language play with a thriller sensibility. They are entertaining reads — go find the first one and keep an eye out for the second!

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Filed under Fantasy Worlds