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Old 08-15-2010   #31
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Re: (Why) Have we stopped reading fiction ?

wow i totally agree, the imagination is so important and its like our culture beats it down with tv and crap. no one thinks anymore well most dont. books are great for imagination cause the author points the way and you fill the rest in.
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Old 08-15-2010   #32
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Re: (Why) Have we stopped reading fiction ?

I've been reading less because there are still many films I've not seen. One that I viewed recently and found striking is Eisenstein's Ivan the Terrible, esp. a video commentary that helped me understand the work. The same goes for music, esp. the anniversary and themed box sets released by Chandos, Harmonia Mundi, and others.
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Old 08-18-2010   #33
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Re: (Why) Have we stopped reading fiction ?

Last year, I did what I never do. I sent one of my stories to a small publishing press, because the website said clearly "open to submissions". What does it mean? In Argentina, where I did the same, for two poetry contests, in the beginning, when someone is young and has that wish of seeing his work in print, "open to submissions" meant that many (professional or amateur) writers would send poems and there were going to be three judges, if they like your writing, good, if not, discarded. Rules known, accepted, then nobody can complain anything about it. I was published both times. Had I not been published I wouldn't complain, because I knew the rules, and it's a contest, what one writes doesn't have to be loved by all. Or sometimes one wins, sometimes one loses. Last year, going back to my comment, I sent a story to be considered, and was not accepted. The editor told me that it might be accepted but it wasn't. I didn't complain, because as I said, I don't expect much of what I write. Later on, I was in touch with one of the writers of TLO, who confirmed to me that the editor offered him to be published before he even wrote the first sentence in the story. How many more? I wonder. Was it an "open to submissions" anthology? Or I publish whoever I want, and I use a dirty tactic of making others believe that they have a chance when everything is preordained? Later on, The editor sent me an email, offering me to buy his anthology, the one where I'm not going to be published, the one where at least one writer has a story being published before he even wrote anything. I told the editor that he must be joking. "This is a joke", I said. I don't mind not to be published. But this is not honesty. He insulted me (for no reason; he even said that he felt pity (pity...? he must be joking!) for me) and added that there was nothing wrong with having his favorite writers being published the way he wants. Meaning that there were other writers who didn't go through the process of writing and being selected but were bought even before they wrote a sentence. But, if this is so, why bother writing "open to submissions"?

For this reason, I stopped reading, writing, I even stopped being a member here. I was upset, disappointed, depressed. And for months I read nothing. It was the third time I tried to be published in the last 15 years. I can accept "no" as an answer, but not "pity". The story that he said he felt pity for me was posted here on TLO soon after he insulted me Before Winter (short story) - THE NIGHTMARE NETWORK

Then, by miracle or by chance (choose any), I bought a book, against my will, by Ibrahim Al-Koni, "Gold Dust". A Libyan writer, and the book was so wonderful, so well written, the story was excellent told, that I started to read again. And I already read my 34th book this year.

Do not stop reading, especially if you are young. Some books are good, some are not so well written, but there is always a writer for you somewhere.

I know who you are
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Old 09-12-2010   #34
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Re: (Why) Have we stopped reading fiction ?

Quote Originally Posted by qcrisp View Post
I think I read less than I used to, and I am fairly sure why: The Internet has seriously damaged my ability to concentrate and to enjoy being alone. It promises contact - on tap, so to speak - with a world out there, without delivering that much in the end. If you are bored with the Internet, are you bored with life? The Internet is somehow presented as 'the world', so what could be better than a connection to it? And if that fails to satisfy, then presumably nothing will satisfy, and, for me, a chronic restlessness has set in.

I still do read more than most people I know, however. I'm not sure if the proportion of fiction has gone down. Maybe so, but that's because I used to read fiction almost exclusively. I still read more fiction than anything else. I seem to be one of a very few people in the world who really lives for fiction.

I share the concerns mentioned that the future will be basically illiterate and devoid of any kind of attention span at all. I have no idea what to do about this. People embrace new things without knowing where they will lead. At least, no one now ever seems to feel they are in the position to turn down a new technology, whatever it might be. It's a selfish concern, but as someone who writes, I fear that I will be obsolete very soon. I am producing more and more complex fiction, and I feel like the human brain is, collectively, losing the ability to digest that kind of thing, as if I am writing in Latin or some other extinct language. As to what I will do when my obsolescence becomes complete, I don't know. Unlike some, I view the future almost entirely with dread. There may be a better age some day, but I don't know if it will be in my lifetime.

If realism is replacing imagination, that, to me, is not progress. Realism is a dead end. There are no quantum leaps without imagination. With realism, you're stuck with what you've got, a recurring pattern. It is realism that is primitive. The mechanistic view of the world represents a degeneration. Primitive brains, such as those of the flea, we're told, resemble computers, in that they have a few pre-programmed responses. More and more, human beings, losing their imaginations, are degenerating into a state of pre-programmed responses (realism), which they seem to believe is 'the future' in some shiny, ultra-cool sort of way. That's a boat I shall be happy to miss.

Having said that, I'm not entirely without hope. I know a number of younger people who buck this trend quite significantly, though, from what I can gather, they themselves are in despair at their peers.
I think the above post needs re-posting. It rings so true.
des
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Old 09-12-2010   #35
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Re: (Why) Have we stopped reading fiction ?

I disagree with the sentiments in that post. The internet is just a tool, like a windmill or a saw: use it but don't let it use you. I don't think that's an impossible thing to do.

Theer's no compulsion to confuse the internet, which is a portal to certain corners of the world, with the world itself.

If you find yourself reading less, it could be because you are saturated. Take a break; most importantly of all, try to live a more physical life: we are physical animals, we didn't evolve to sit in chairs and read books all day. Climb a mountain, chase women. Soon you'll be ready to return to reading and other sedate pursuits.

Just getting the balance right is the key. Physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual life all require equal attention.

Just my own view, of course...

"Nothing can be known, not even this." - Carneades
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Old 09-12-2010   #36
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Re: (Why) Have we stopped reading fiction ?

He's my view: if you choose to read less then that's your choice, but don't blame the internet, bad publishers, or whoever else might be passing by. For me the internet is excellent for one major thing (no, not the obvious!) and that is for discovering authors I've previously never heard of but who write in a style that I appreciate and enjoy. It is better to utilise the internet and be a discoverer rather than a bleater!
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Old 03-03-2017   #37
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Re: (Why) Have we stopped reading fiction ?

Two trends I have noticed (which may have been mentioned already):

-People are moving to visual and audio, to bring realism into fiction. Take video game, the must-have today is voiced dialogue. Oculus Rift and other technology seek to fool the senses and bring people into fictional world. Why would people read and imagine when they can experience fiction?

-People want to be informed, or seem informed about the state of affairs on how to be happier or current advancement in robot. Nonfiction provides the general and the specialize, the facts and the theories. It can make someone seems like an expert in worldly matters, whereas reading fiction sometimes implies a 'troubling desire to escape from reality'.

Personally, none of my friend reads frequently and it's sometime embarrassing for me to be seen as a 'reader'. I don't want to explain what The Trouble with Being Born is all about and be labeled an 'intellectual'. Carrying around fictional book can also be troubling, as the other day a friend asked if I was doing my 'luxurious reading' again.

WORD MADE FLESH. The relationship between thought and language is the relationship between a wound and its scar.

-Hans Abendroth
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Old 03-03-2017   #38
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Re: (Why) Have we stopped reading fiction ?

Screw 'em. Read anyway. Much in my life is devoted to escaping reality; it always has been, always will be. What's so great about reality?

Maybe you ARE more intellectual than they are. Smarter is better.

All of this programs the death of reading. And reading is the drinking of strange wine.
-Harlan Ellison
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Old 03-03-2017   #39
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Re: (Why) Have we stopped reading fiction ?

Thanks my friend, but I know I am not an intellectual or smarter than them. It's just sad that reading can become a barrier between friends.

WORD MADE FLESH. The relationship between thought and language is the relationship between a wound and its scar.

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Old 03-03-2017   #40
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Re: (Why) Have we stopped reading fiction ?

There will always be a wall between readers and non-readers. The two groups will never get one another. It's a pity that some fell superior to the other. If these people are your friends, it shouldn't matter to them. If it does, then they aren't really your friends.

"The world is indeed comic, but the joke is on mankind." - H. P. Lovecraft
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