Making a suggestion for reading every day is changing from a fun task into a frightening job. I want to read so many books and I’m gradually slowing down more and more. But what’s even scarier, I’m finding myself staring at the latest episode of Mr. Robot with no desire or apparent ability to raise my arms or alter my focus.
Back in the days of my more youthful reading, especially those highly esteemed and musty old tomes, I would treat my lack of enthusiasm by reading a few titles of popular fiction such as mystery novels or even some hopefully quality science fiction. The key is to limit the number of books of this sort because poplar fiction generates tedium and dulls the brain much faster than more classical reading. But like sugary desserts, the first few bites are exquisite even though in short order the whole thing caramelizes your tongue and makes your teeth hurt.
My New Year’s resolution is to pay more attention to my reading. I get too involved with Netflix series’ and click-bait showing me how they look today (compared to 1964?). But rest assured: I may be getting soft in my old age butI have yet to chase after photos of cute kittens or smart dogs.
One thing that I intend to make use of more and more is the text-to-speech function of reading applications such as Marvin. The technology is not great but it is more than adequate for most reading. Interestingly, although you might assume this digital translation would be disappointing for books written in less familiar languages such as Arabic, but many times the pronunciation is spot-on. English tends to run into problems with various homonyms and heteronyms (bow/bow, read/read, etc.). The tendency to try to pronounce some punctuation and abbreviates is also a bit aggravating, but you get used to it.
From A Little History of Religion by Richard Holloway:
If daring to know how nature worked was one of the impulses of the Enlightenment, another was disgust with centuries of religious violence. Superstition was bad enough. War was worse. The thinkers of the Enlightenment noticed how religions always disagreed with each other. Each believed it possessed the truth revealed by God and the others were wrong. And when it got control of a country it tried to make everyone march to its drumbeat. That was bad enough. It was worse if there were just two religions in a country competing against each other. They would be at each other’s throats all the time, as they had been in Europe since the Reformation. But if there were thirty religions they all seemed to live in peace!