In an online article posted yesterday, Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett observes that, generally speaking, we don’t make enough time to read books and, when we do, we’re all too eager to skip to the good bits rather than to allow the narrative to unfold on its own terms. It’s perhaps a symptom of living in the digital age, she suggests, where the desire for immediacy and instant gratification trump true immersion in another world. Cosslett has a point, though I don’t think all the blame can be assigned to modern technology changing our behaviour. After all, who hasn’t read the final chapter of a book ahead of time to see how things end? I’d say it’s human nature to crave resolution and completion, and digital technologies are merely tools to make this craving short-term and manageable.
If it’s difficult to find the time to read, it might be worthwhile to explore how much time is spent on other, arguably less stimulating, activities. But watching television is surely sufficient for the purpose of entering a story and following its plot to the end.