A few days ago a friend and I discussed a show on Frontline. Digital Nation brought up how many people think they can multitask, checking email and twitter, say, while listening to a college lecture; but when retention tests were taken, many were surprised by how poorly they’d done.
Computers and all the multimedia hand gadgets may encourage us to split our attention. I love working on my laptop and how quickly I can review definitions and dates, but if my historical research ends with fact checking, it’s not where it begins. Most of my ideas come from the slower more intimate experience of turning pages, then noting a detail that makes my heart trip. Some of those ideas deepen as I fold back a soft page, hear paper rustle as I put down the book and muse. The world wide web offers great information, but it’s already been culled and processed, hauled back from the past. Many overlooked details are still in the fragile yellowing pages of a book or letters.
Here’s one of the glories of the internet: you can probably find a way to watch Digital Naition if you’re interested, and I’ve put a trailer for it below. We live at a lucky time to have this, while still being able to choose books, where buttons don’t wink or flash, enticing us to other sites, but offer the pleasures of dwelling and depth.
And for Nonfiction Monday round-up, please visit: http://greatkidbooks.blogspot.com/