By February 27, 2008 2 Comments Read More →

If I start now, I can be done by December 2009

More free stuff: books (well, some of them are free), in your in-box, in little bits (or, if you will, bytes), from But, asks Graeme Allister (“The book is dead… Long live inboxed gobbets!” theblogbooks, The Guardian), do we really want to read War and Peace in 675 sittings?

Despite this flexibility, there’s a certain sterility in reading in ready-sized portions. Perhaps it’s a little too reminiscent of homework. Then there’s the problem of reading a screen, a sensation which, in my opinion, doesn’t really lend itself to fiction. Does anyone else find this? It’s not just that I miss the romance of curling up with a good book. It’s a matter of distraction, as an email pops up in mid-sentence, or the prose is suddenly overtaken by a corporate screensaver.

I think this is exactly what some readers want: reading as exercise, an act of self-improvement to be added to the daily routine and then accomplished through a sheer act of will.

But, thankfully, not too many of them.

From the You’ve Got a Point There Department:

Whether said as an apology, boast or sidestep, “I’ve no time to read” crops up whenever books are mentioned. (And it only ever applies to books – when have you ever heard anyone say they don’t have time for TV or music?)



About the Author:

Keir Graff is Executive Editor of Booklist Publications and the author of five books. His most recent is the middle-grade novel, The Other Felix (2011). Follow him on Twitter at @Booklist_Keir.

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