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I found this, with a little irony, in one of my email inboxes this morning : Why can't we read any more?

It doesn't say anything new, of course, but it encapsulates a problem I've had, and so have you probably.  Email. Usenet. Web based forums. Lj.  Twitter. Facebook.   I have got  a great deal out of all of it, of course, and have learned a great deal.  But I have also spent way too much of my time sucked into things that don't matter, getting cross about things I can't change and focussing on things that don't leave me feeling I've achieved much.

The only thing I can't agree with in that blog is that it presents books as an alternative to this, and I don't honestly think they are.  Books for me are subject to exactly the same addictive behaviour.  I can remember my parents in the 70's talking about the guilty pleasure of 'committing book' - ie getting sunk into a book when you should really be getting on with something else.

Book addiction is like nothing else for keeping me up till 3am on a workday to find out what happened, and what's more, it's not always the thrill of the new that compels attention either.  I am re-reading Lord of the Rings at the moment, and trust me, this is not because I don't know the plot.  It's because I started idly fitting things together in my head in a slightly different way, and found that I needed to refresh my memory of the Silmarillion, and damnit, before I knew it I had reread that and Unfinished tales and had rummaged in the Appendices.

And now here I am, one more time, watching Boromir grumble about Moria in the fading grey evening light of Hollin after the attempt to scale the Redhorn Gate has failed.  I have no idea why we're here again, having lost count long ago of the number of times I've been here before.  Apparently my brain is enjoying it?  Brains are so strange.

In another mailbox this morning, my weekly report from https://www.rescuetime.com/, which is a service I've started to use which logs which applications and websites I use and allows me to set targets.   Apparently in the last week I spent 3 hours 44 minutes on Facebook - slightly more than I spent on email.  Which would not be too bad if it were true, but actually that report is only for my laptop that I use mostly for work, not Pp's desktop machine that I tend to slump in front of while drinking coffee in the morning, so that is a hideous underestimate.

And way, way too much time that I could have been spending re-reading Lord of the Rings for the nth time.  Must Do Better Bunn.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
27th Apr, 2015 07:34 (UTC)
I'm about to have a mad rush!rush!rush! to get to work on time, thanks to spending far longer than I should have rereading The Lord of the Rings in bed this morning. (To make it worse, I finished the second volume, and even then I didn't stop, but went into another room to pick up the third volume and started that, even though I know full well that it doesn't resolve the cliffhanger.) Now I'm making myself even later because, despite all this, I've still got to switch my computer on and read LJ and the like, and spend time making comments like this.
27th Apr, 2015 13:26 (UTC)
This comment made me laugh, particularly as I failed to walk dogs before my first morning phonecall because I was reading LOTR and blog posts on Medium.

Brains, they pretend they are proceeding in a logical and reasonable fashion and really they are just running about like kittens going 'Oh! BOOK!' with no regard for common sense or consequence.
30th Apr, 2015 16:10 (UTC)
I agree with you re: book addiction, in my life I have spent just as much time distracted and unable to focus on life and the people around me because BOOK as because INTERNET. However, I fixed that problem to some extent by just physically separating myself from books when I shouldn't be reading. Internet is much, much harder to physically separate myself from. In college, I would give my Ethernet cord to someone else and tell them not to give it back to me until I got my work done. Now with wifi + smartphone, things are significantly harder. Plus, I need the Internet for work a lot more. I like that RescueTime concept! I may try it.
30th Apr, 2015 21:23 (UTC)
Very true, the central problem of internet is that if you need it for work, you just can't put it down and walk away....

I did try one of those site blocker things that kicks in after a certain number of hours, but it didn't suit how I work: I'd rather just keep track of what I've been doing so I can look at a report and decide to change what I'm doing for the rest of the day, it seems less intrusive.
5th May, 2015 02:54 (UTC)
I'm not disciplined enough about the site blockers. I'll just open a different browser, or find a NEW site to waste time on... I'd be curious to try the "feedback" approach instead.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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