LISNEWS member Bearkat contacted me and said that he would be interested in discussing the book "The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains"
Both CHOICE and Library Journal Review recommended the book. We will be starting the discussion on the book soon. If you would like to join the discussion here are some ways to obtain the book.
Some of the ebook versions available.
All four of these ebook versions have readers for PC so you do not need to have a dedicated ereader to use the ebook version.
Prefacing with the HAL supercomputer “my mind is going” vignette (2001: A Space Odyssey), Carr refers to his mind changing, especially in regards to reading: “my concentration starts to drift after a page or two. I get fidgety, loose the thread, begin looking for something else to do “ (7). Others such as bloggers Scott Karp, Bruce Friedman, and Philp Davis (7-8) also refer to this tendency.
Some questions to help open up discussion:
• Is the lack-of-concentration tendency solely indicative of our connectivity with the Internet and smart phones? How does this relationship compare with other mediums, e.g., magazines, radio, television, etc?
• If you find that you, your friends, or your students experience lack of concentration while reading dense material, how do you/they address it, e.g., filter out background noise, turn the computer or email/messaging off, etc.?
Scott Karp mentions that instead of a reading a book in its entirety, he now prefers to read snippets of text from Blogs, Google Books, etc. and feels that in some ways he is “smarter” – as a hypertext document he is now more aware of connections and relationships (8).
• Karp and others seem to suggest that in-depth reading (mostly books or scholarly articles) and quick selective reading (mostly Internet and blogs) can’t exist alongside. Do you believe this is true?
• Cognitively what are we gaining from a reliance on quick selective reading? What are we loosing from less in-depth reading?