I finished a book this week. Actually, more amazingly, I finished two books this week! _No Country for Old Men_ which took me a mere 3 months to read all 200 pages. That compares well against _Snow Crash_ which took me 2 1/2 years.
The odd thing here is both were superb books. It’s not like it was a chore to read them. And I read a lot. Every day I read blogs and web sites, and news, and in those stories I follow links to other news stories I read, then I read some email, then I go back and start to finish the news story I started with, then I read the instant message that was sent to me, then I go back and finish the first email, and start to write a reply, then I remember there was an interesting story on the BBC site that I hadn’t finished yet, then as I get into it I notice i got an SMS, then … where was I?
Oh yeah, for some reason I find I can’t sit down and read a 1,000 page book from cover to cover. Oh by the way, this is interesting, apparently Whistler / Blackcomb was given a safety advisory for their Gondola towers.
Sorry, I got distracted there, an interesting piece of news. What was my point? I find it hard to concentrate on a single book for a long period of time (ooh, this is cool, solar power sunglasses to charge your iPod)
Anyway, back on track I got thinking about this, and wondering what has changed? I remember a time when I would sit for 8 hours and read a book cover to cover (sorry Dad, just saw your email, your new font was small, I had no problems but I bet some older people might have) and now I can’t seem to.
More seriously, when I started reading _Snow Crash_ I considered one of the more far-fetched ideas in it to be that working with computers could actually “rewire” my brain, make me think and function differently. As I look at my difficulty now with finishing a book, or even a long newspaper article, as someone who used to be known for incredible focus on a task, I’m beginning to wonder if this is science fiction or not. I’m not alone … this is a question being increasingly asked in the media 
I definitely read differently than I used to. I research differently than I used to. I also spend far more time reading, am far more informed, and draw my information from far more sources than I used to. So, is this good or bad? Or this neither and a natural change the world will adapt to?
As long as I’m not susceptible to a snow crash, I guess I will just wait for a blog to tell me the answer 
 Remember when a reference was something you found at the end of an article to explore later, instead of embedded in the middle like you’re expected to immediately jump to it then come back to the original material later?
 It is a must read. One of those rare cases of a 20 year old science fiction novel that has almost ceased to be science fiction.