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The internet has changed my brain

Today I went into a bookstore for the first time in months. I buy most of my books online or, to be frank, just play on the internet instead of reading. I'm 40, so I've lived substanitial chunks of my life both with and without the internet. I found it difficult to scan the shelves. I couldn't concentrate; my vision was always skipping ahead and I kept getting distracted. It's hard to explain, but I wanted to approach book shopping the way I do online browsing: clicking through quickly, skimming the surface, immediately targeting what I want. I realized that this tendency has spread to reading generally. I'm so used to reading online-style text, short bits of information rife with hyperlinks that I dip into without missing a beat. I've become extremely nimble in navigating information but way less adept at absorbing and retaining it. It scares me a little. I was an English major and worked in bookstore or libraries from my teens to mid-20s. I own hundreds of books and used to love reading. I started reading The Wind in the Willows, my favorite children's book, last night, and within ten mintutes I was back to surfing online. I think I need to take a long break.


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