What’s next?

The world of my student days, however, was fundamentally different from this one. It was only towards the end of my degree that a friend showed me a marvel named the internet (Him: “Type in anything, it’ll find you a website!” Me: “What’s a website?”) In the 90s, there were a mere four TV channels. Each household had a single phone-line, usable once at a time. Only geeks played “video games”. It was much easier to remove oneself completely from the world into the vast architecture of the novel. Now, the reader is under assault from hundreds of television channels, 3D cinema, a computer-gaming business so large it dwarfs Hollywood, iPhones, Wii, YouTube, free commuter newspapers, an engorged celebrity culture, instant access to all the music ever recorded, 24-hour sports news, and DVD box-sets of shows such as The Wire, Mad Men and Lost that replicate some of the scope and depth of literature. Unprecedented levels of consumer debt, and now a recession, have seen everyone working longer hours. A leisure time that was already precious has been chewed into by text-messaging, Facebook and emails. Almost everyone I speak to claims that they “love books but just can’t find the time to read”. Well, they probably could – they’re just choosing to spend it differently.

              Who stole our reading time? by Allan Bissett at Guardian

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