Reading between the lines

So much of what I read is on the Internet these days. Actually almost all now I think about it, and a huge percentage of that is fed, blogged, tweeted, aggregated, dugg, posted etc. Somehow reading a book (and I mean a novel here) has become a luxury activity. It’s almost a secret guilty pleasure, selfishly consuming something just for me in a completely non-interactive, non-collaborative and very non-web-2.0 way.

My novel reading rate has slowed right down. A couple of pages every other day. I’ve become like Charlie Bucket, eking out my bar of Wonka’s Fudge Mallow Whipple Scrumptious Delight one tiny, tongue-tingling morsel at a time.

Getting into and then through a whole novel is quite an investment both emotionally and in terms of time so I’ve become much more picky about which novels I read. I’m so used to skim-reading hypertext, flitting from blog to feed to wiki, two or three threads at a time, both monitors flashing. As a result the slow, single-focused, total emersion, the suspension not only of disbelief but of the whole world around me required to get into and out of a good session of novel reading is quite a wrench.

At the moment I’m reading Anathem by Neal Stephenson and by God it’s good, but still I’m pacing myself, determined not to guzzle it down and dreading the real sense of loss, bereavement even, when it’s gone.

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…and will inevitably lead to shorter postmen.

Exciting arrivals from Amazon in recent weeks have been Neal Stephenson’s new novel Anathem, for which I have been waiting with baited breath since I finshed the last of the Baroque Cycle. It’s a 950 page monster and looks to be every bit as good as it’s predecessors. Also, More Effective C# by Bill Wagner, sequel to Effective C# which is still one of the best books written on C#. Long awaited doesn’t even begin to cover it.  I pre-ordered this book in March 2007 and it was only released this week, some 19 months later, which is a personal best.
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