Sunday, February 10, 2013

Reading: The Lost Art of Reading by David L. Ulin

The Lost Art of Reading was a book I really looked forward to reading.  Not only was the subject matter something I was very much interested in but the cover art was beautiful!  I bought the book on amazon and when it came in the mail, I was surprised to see it was this tiny book with a smooth hard cover.  I wanted to hold the book all of the time because of how pretty it was.  However, when I sat down to read this book it was far from pretty and interesting like the cover.

This is another book I marked as one of my least favorite reads of 2012.  I think this is because of my high expectations but there were also a lot of other things that went into the mix.  The book revolves around Ulin and his son and The Great Gatsby. Ulin goes into the reasons why reading is such a popular pleasure.  He states, "This was what reading had to offer, that balance of first and second sight, of knowing and unknowing, of finding yourself in someone else," and, "Most of us carry handheld devices more powerful than the most versatile computers of a decade ago, yet rather than liberating us, they shave seconds off our downtime, as if it were something to be maximized.  We check e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, work and leisure websites as a matter of reflex: in restaurants, with our families, in the car".  These two sentences, and many others, were extremely appealing to me.  But that is the book's downfall.  It has too many brilliant sentences but not a brilliant execution. 

I found the book extremely boring for the most part.  While it appealed to my sense of getting reading back the way it used to be, it didn't capture me enough for me to appreciate the book.  It was a short book (a little over 100 pages I'd say) and it took me over a month to read it!  I had to force myself to read it so I could just finish it and let it be over with!  The book also felt like a slight re-read since I just finished The Shallows and this book borrowed heavily from it.  Not that borrowing from other books is wrong.  But Ulin didn't seem to be making one solid point like The Shallows does.  Ulin had many points that were scattered all over the place.  And one last thing, the book was too political for me.  It was a major turnoff.

It can't be a surprise that this book just did not do it for me.  It had potential but then didn't follow through.  I will give it 2 out of 5 stars.

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