Last night I finished a splendid novel full of troubled and fascinating relationships, complex in its storyline and absolutely right in its conclusion. Toward morning, I found myself dreaming about the characters. A book like this took years to write by an author both intelligent and wise. Yet if you checked its Amazon ranking, you could see for yourself that nobody is reading it.
What is going on here? Have life-encompassing novels gone the way of cursive writing and the quill pen? David Ulin, former book review editor of the LA Times, says that it is true—as a culture, we no longer read deeply or well. Why not? He blames the flood of disconnected information that daily inundates us. We must beat our way through a rising tide of words, trying our best not to drown. In the process, we are losing our ability to focus, to attend, to ruminate.
How about this for a novel idea? What if we took up novel-reading as an act of radical resistance against bobbing around like flotsam? What if we lifted our heads, arched our backs, charted our course, and embraced the water as though it were home?