Photo credit: shaycam
I haven’t read a single book since I started blogging nine months ago.
It’s not that I stopped reading. I read more now than I ever have before. But I do all my reading online. Instead of reading books, I read blogs.
People used to worry that the internet would be the end of reading and writing. It wasn’t. We are surrounded by more text than ever before, and since the internet enables people to publish their own material, it is also a great equalizer that enables us to discover writers that we would not have heard of otherwise.
So I’m still an avid reader, right? Perhaps. But some say that “reading” only refers to printed books. That blogs and eBooks are less valuable than printed books. I recently heard an interesting distinction between reading blogs and reading books: online, you SURF. Or maybe SCAN. You don’t READ.
In addition, the very fact that blogs and eBooks are self-published and don’t go through an editorial selection process means that many of them are indeed of a lower quality than printed material. This article is an excellent example: it’s an assortment of ideas – interesting ideas perhaps, but no doubt the writing here is “writing for the web.” Quick, shallow, grammatically challenged and not very polished.
Avital of Creativity Prompt tagged me, ages ago, for a book meme. One of the meme’s questions: has a book ever fundamentally changed the way you see life? My answer: yes, of course. There were several, but most notably, Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment made me realize, during a time of great emotional turmoil as a teenager, how fragile and precious and absolutely wonderful life is:
“Where was it that I read about a man condemned to death saying or thinking, an hour before his death, that if he had to live somewhere high up on a cliffside, on a ledge so narrow that there was room only for his two feet – and with the abyss, the ocean, eternal darkness, eternal solitude, eternal strom all around him – and had to stay like that, on a square foot of space, an entire lifetime, a thousand years, an eternity – it would be better to live so than to die right now! Only to live, to live, to live!”
Can a blog change my life the way a book has? Clay Collins of Finance Your Freedom thinks it can’t. He said a few months ago in a tweet that I marked and saved as one of my favorites: “Several books have changed my life. Forever. A blog’s never had the same impact.”
Over to you now.
Do you read books? Do you think blogs and ebooks are inferior to printed books? Has a book ever changed YOUR life?