Wednesday, July 18, 2012

"Reader's block" and the racing bike

In this episode of Kindle Chronicles, one of Len's listeners writes to him about an interesting phenomenon: She is and has been an avid reader all her life, but in periods, slowly getting worse, suffered from what she calls "reader's block", meaning she'd get stuck reading and couldn't make progress in a book, sometimes just staring at a page for hours.

Now that's a grim fate, but the most interesting part is that once she started reading on an ereader instead of paper books, the problem disappeared! She's read a good many books on her Kindle, and there's no sign of it returning.

Now what would cause that? I have no idea, but I think it's an interesting counter-balance to the idea that even I used to have, that e-reading would struggle to get just nearly as good as paper reading, when in fact it turned out that I'd only been e-reading (after iPad came around) for a couple of months when I found that I now greatly preferred it to paper reading. That surprised me.

It's not that I have any problems as such with reading on paper (except if the type is very tiny and I don't have my reading glasses). But I'm just more attracted to e-reading. I don't know why, it just feels more "alive" to me.

I'm reminded of when in my twenties I got a quality racing bike instead of the traditional solid, heavy bicycle. The lighter weight and the nimbleness of the racing bike simple made bike riding fun, it had never been that in my life. Further, distances seemed about 40% shorter. For a couple of summers then, I rode the bike to work, about 25 minutes each way. With my old bike, it'd have been 40 minutes I think, and it would have been a dreadful chore.

I think that when you take out several small delays and annoyances from something, the transformation in the experience can be much bigger than you'd foreseen.

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