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Avoiding the shallows: a confession to books.

2011 July 3

Wall of Books by Mr T from DCAfter having read The Shallows (by N. Carr) I more than ever realised that I am a book person. Not sure what caused it and it has not always been this strong, but books have always been around me. I usually read one or two books at the time and have a list of –yet to read- books as well. While reading most books I take notes (actually write down the page number and sentence as well).

Some books I just read for the reading: being disconnected to really get the whole book. Deep reading books get my mind really wondering as well. Loosing oneself in a book is a great compliment to the author (I think). The natural state of the brain seems to be distractedness. While reading deeply, one can think deeply as well (says Carr).

There are patterns in the books I read. One pattern is subject of interests (e.g. innovation, free culture, geography, philosophy), another is people of interest (e.g. Lincoln, Wittgenstein, Hadrianus), yet another time periods (Ancient Rome, Great Explorations). Somehow these subjects keep overlapping. Apart from these patterns, I do allow for serendipity. No better place than the library or a bookshop for that.

Just liking writing things down (with a real pen or pencil) works better for me to remember what I read, so does deep reading in ‘real’ paper books. I will keep trying e-reading every now and then. But, like a listening book, it just doesn’t stick.

Not too long ago, I have started to share the books I read online (and a few notes or comments about them). It has caused surprising reactions:

  • People have asked me advice about some of the (business) books I have read. Several of these people I have never met before.
  • I have communicated with authors of books and felt that very rewarding (e.g. with Jeff Jarvis).
  • I have reacted to what others are reading, and was able to borrow books that way.

It is these kind of responses I hope for when I share what I read.

I feel blessed by finding and taking the time for deep reading. A long commute (at times) helps. I do not notice fellow passengers and train stations; they don’t really bother me. And I have failed my planned destination only once due to a book way too interesting.

The Shallows is a great book to read. What intrigues me: what if I meet people who have read all the same books as I have? Would that be an extreme boring or an extreme inspiring meetup? I also have a confession to make about maps and scientific publications, but that is a different kind of story. Back to reading now. Hume.

[openbook booknumber="ISBN:9780393072228" templatenumber="1"]

One Response leave one →
  1. Jw permalink*
    September 11, 2011

    I missed out by not mentioning http://www.gutenberg.org/ here. saving that a later version.

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