Friday, September 7, 2012

Difficulty reading

It is difficult to read a book or hold a conversation these days, when every subject brings to mind a relevant study, a book, a demo or a You Tube video.  Each proper name makes me wonder about that person's publications, background, current position, etc. Each subject makes me wonder what proper names have published in that area, what are that subject's leading questions and current research edges, and so on.  I am drawn to the computer, to Google search and Google images so I can learn about the author and his background and his age and where he lives, etc.  

Reading ads and getting all excited about the latest movie or toy only to find it isn't much fun after 15 minutes. Just as what tastes good is often not good for you, so what seems exciting will turn out to be of limited or zero excitement.  A good taste is one stimulus and pleasant excitement culminating in satisfaction is a slightly different stimulus.  Good tastes leading to less-than-good outcomes and exciting ads leading to disappointments are not necessarily features of a depressing world but are more likely to be the result of manipulations attempting to make a profit.  

Allowing for the drop between desire and probability takes experience.  Experience or not, it is natural to hope strongly that I win the raffle, that my number is the winner, even while calculation tells me it ain't gonna happen.  This applies to novels, too.  Is this going to be exciting?  Did we get to the exciting part yet?  Is this as exciting as it is going to get?  

One of my problems getting used to the Kindle was avoiding too much hopping about.  The Kindle holds hundreds of books and it is very quick and easy to switch between them.  When you were doing a paper for school, you may have had several books open open in front of you at once but the Kindle makes it easy to have 10 or a dozen.  As a reader, I sometimes have an urge to ask Is this really what I want to be reading now?  Would I be happier if I switched out of this book and read that other one instead?

As a reader, a teacher, a student and grad student, I never developed the habit of highlighting parts of a book.  However, I didn't have a Kindle at hand and I rarely had a presentation or lecture coming up.  Now, I may, so when I am reading, I try to keep an eye out for good language, valuable comments, important insights.  One that popped up recently is  "Selfish acts coagulate the finite self instead of dissolving it; ill-will perturbs the flow of consciousness." in Huston Smith's The World's Religions.  Smith is explaining the Hindu idea that our finite self that we know so well is just a surface and that beneath that surface, we have much more lasting selves that are not finite but directly part of the stream of life and existence.  But COAGULATE was just a poetic and wonderful choice that I noted it. I highlighted it on the Kindle, which saves my highlights in a separate, ordered file.  

But that is another complication of my reading: highlighting, downloading the file of highlights, storing it where I can find it, etc.

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