Sep 1, 2009

The Literary Mind

If you write books, you might be pessimistic about your dwindling audience. The Internet and video games take most of the blame for dying newspapers, less watched television and a slumping publishing industry. There are plenty of reasons for hope, including the 400+ million Harry Potter books which have been sold. There is an entire generation growing up reading J. K. Rowling’s lengthy novels. The path to serious reading includes all kinds of books: Curious George, Judy Blume, Conan The Barbarian, and The Destroyer series. And now J. K. Rowling has helped create a generation of readers and they will be looking for more good things to read.

The other cause for hope? People are starting to recognize that the Internet might be doing funny things to the way we think. I first heard of Nicholas Carr on NPR’s On The Media. Carr said , “My fear is that we're substituting [sic] kind of the literary mind, which was a mind that was patient, could concentrate on a single line of reading for an extended period of time; we're replacing that mind with [sic] kind of the mind that the Internet is encouraging in us, which is a mind that wants to seek out as much information as quickly as possible.” The good news is that Carr is not alone in recognizing the problem and there are a lot of readers suffering from Link Fatigue and will find solace in returning to their Literary Minds.