Sunday, February 24, 2013

Do Digital Books Make You Read Faster?

Our guest blogger is Jane Ayres author of several books including Beware of the Horse.

Do Digital Books Make You Read Faster?

When I was a child, I devoured books at the rate of one or two a day but as I’ve got older (much older!), my reading rate, along with everything else, it seems, has slowed down considerably. Reading a standard novel can take weeks to finish. Sometimes longer.
So I was rather surprised the other day to realise that in the space of a few hours I had read Nora Ephron’s I feel Bad About My Neck, was on Chapter 8 of Life of Pi by Yann Martel and almost finished How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months by John Locke. Frankly, I was astonished.
Then I looked at what was on my kindle, over 30 books, most already finished. What the hell was going on? It got me thinking. In my job and as a writer, I spend a good deal of my working day at a computer screen. I’m more used to reading words on a screen than on paper now. So I did some research (via Google of course!) and apparently the way the brain experiences a book (printed) is different to a digital book.
In fact, if you use a specific technology often enough (or undertake any highly repetitive action) neurons in your brain fire in a certain way and make strong connections so that the action we undertake becomes second nature; effectively “rewiring” the brain and affecting our evolution. Quite literally,mind-blowing.
To quote a phrase from Hebb’s Law:
“Neurons that fire together, wire together.”
Wow! So is that what’s happening? My brain has, over a period of time, simply rewired so that my preferred reading platform is now digital rather than paper?
Who knows? What matters to me is that I feel like since getting my humble kindle ink, I have rediscovered the joys that reading brought me as a child and which I lost for a big chunk of my life. I’m really grateful for that.

No comments:

Post a Comment