The Post Where I Shamefully Admit That I Don’t (Really) Read Books

Here, I’m going to admit to you something that most smart English majors wouldn’t be caught dead admitting: I don’t read books.

Actually, that’s not entirely true. I read some books for classes. The classics. Literature. Poetry. Then, I’ll occasionally casually thumb through (and quite possibly read) a book at home.

But mostly, my reading is done on the web. Articles, short stories, even blog posts — anything that minimally piques my interest is often subject to my ravenous appetite.

And I think that because, more often than not, my reading is divided into small, easily digestible chunks, I’ve actually developed a greater appreciation towards learning. In fact, I’ve developed a greater appreciation towards reading in general, too.

At least part of that can be attributed to the iPad. Thanks to apps like Instapaper — an app that allows you to save articles in easy to read text-only formats for future offline consumption — Flipboard, and Zite — two apps that automatically download and organize written content from various websites depending on your personal preferences — I often find myself reading tens upon tens of articles during my free time just because the apps themselves make it such a convenient, painless process.

Is it a problem? Maybe. Clearly, it reveals that all of my overindulgence in videogames, T.V., and all things digital have certainly had an impact on my attention span, regardless of how often I insisted that, “no, mom, videogames don’t kill braincells.”

But also, I believe it’s consistent with the ongoing digitization of writing. Nowadays, people, especially kids and young adults, seem to prefer short, informative articles that only take a few minutes of their time to get through.

That’s not to say that books are dead. If anything, the iPad and Kindle and other tablet devices have injected some new life into the aging format.

But the two formats are meant to be different, and will always be different. Books are meant to provide a means for escape. A means to explore a world that would have been otherwise nonexistent. Articles and blogs, even short stories to a degree, are meant to inform, tell a brief tale.

Unfortunately, the web, in all of its news feeds, social networks, and websites focused on churning out the latest information as fast as possible, isn’t necessarily designed for that.

Is it unfortunate that books have become a neglected piece of my life? Yes. Absolutely.

But regardless of how much neglect I throw their way, they are still just that: a piece.