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Pleasures of Reading in an age of Distraction

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It is argued that our reliance on electronic media means that our attention spans shorten and we become less willing to read books. However, we see a growth in book reading groups and each year a huge number of books are published. Sure the figures include many self-published books with modest readership figures, but the numbers are still astonishing.

So why do we still read? Some people read to, as Alan Jacobs puts it, build up their intellectual muscles. But he argues that reading remains one of the great human delights and that reading for pleasure is still well and truly in fashion.

With the huge range of printed and electronic media available, there are thousands of ways we can choose to spend our time, so sitting down with a full-length book faces considerable opposition – even though Alan Jacobs definition of ‘book’ included the kindle and other electronic devices. This exploration of the motivation of book reading is a fascinating study.

 

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