Reading in the Internet Age

  Reading a good book has been compared to going scuba diving for the first time. Once a reader dives in, the brain swims in all kinds of new knowledge or interesting stories. This feels just like being at the bottom of the ocean and seeing all of the amazing creatures1 everywhere. Reading like this opens up the mind and leads the reader to a whole new world. Reading on the Internet is much different. It has been compared to riding a jet ski2. It is fun to do, but it is really just skimming3 across the top of the water.

  Recent studies suggest that we are gradually changing our reading habits. Researchers have found that people read no more than two pages on the Internet before skipping to something else. Book lovers who used to read for hours at a time now have a problem. Because they use the Internet so much, they find it harder to concentrate for a long period of time.

  With emails, blogs, and forums4, we are reading much more now than people did in the 1970s and 1980s. However, reading online is different from enjoying books. Apparently, what we have today is a case of quantity over quality. Skimming the surface of the water is nice, but diving in deep is something special.

  閱讀一本好書被比作是初次體驗潛水。一旦讀者熱切投入,大腦便悠游暢泳在各種新知或有趣的故事中。這感覺就像是在海底觀賞俯拾皆是的奇異生物。像這樣的閱讀方式能開拓心胸,並且帶領讀者進入一個嶄新世界。在網路上閱讀可就大不相同了。這種閱讀被比作是騎乘水上摩托車。這樣做雖然好玩,但只不過是快速地掠過水面而已。

  近來的研究顯示我們正逐漸改變閱讀習慣。研究人員發現,人們在網路上讀不到兩頁就會跳到其它頁面。過去會一口氣連讀數小時的愛書人士現在有個問題。由於他們常用網路,因此他們發現自己愈來愈難長時間保持專注。

  有了電子郵件、部落格和討論區,我們的閱讀量比1970和1980年代的人多了更多。不過線上閱讀和樂在書中是截然不同的。現在我們的閱讀顯然是量多於質。快速地掠過水面固然不錯,但深度潛入其中總是特別的。

《Building Your Vocabulary》
1. gradually adv. 逐漸地,逐步地
Ray is gradually recovering from his illness.
阿雷正逐漸自病中康復。
2. concentrate vi. 專注,專心
Dan could hardly concentrate during class.
阿丹在課堂上難以專心。
3. apparently adv. 顯然;看來
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