In today’s busy world where multitasking is a skill everyone must possess and there are flashes, dings and other attention grabbers everywhere we turn, it’s amazing that the ancient, solitary pastime of simply sitting down and reading a book has survived with such tenacity. Or, I suppose it’s not amazing, since there’s no argument for its intrigue—it is, however, really nice.
The thing is, when you’re reading, you can’t be doing anything else. I do crafts and watch TV at the same time, make playlists for absolutely every household chore and culinary venture, play word games while driving, daydream during long walks and bike rides, and send text messages and make phone calls during absolutely everything else. Except reading.
Reading requires full attention, absolute mental concentration and complete immersion in the text itself. You can read in the company of others, but at the root of it, you’re lost in the book itself. I eat while reading, sometimes, but if I have to use a knife and fork, then I’m stuck. The book takes precedence and I adapt my other actions to suit it.
On this quiet Friday afternoon, with a long(ish) bus ride ahead of me, the pleasure of sitting down with the one entertainment pursuit that doesn’t allow my mind to wander or my hands to fidget for something to occupy them is a welcome prospect. (Okay, I guess I can ride buses and read at the same time).
This isn’t a revolutionary statement, nor is it an incredibly insightful one, but it’s something that I think we can all take solace in. No matter how crazy or frantic life becomes, there is no “x-treme” or 2.0 form of reading—even e-readers are just a different type of book, really. There is no other way to do it than the way that people have been for centuries. And that’s just nice.