Reading is a revolutionary act, an act of engagement in a culture that wants us to disengage. In The Lost Art of Reading, David L. Ulin asks a number of timely questions - why is literature important? What does it offer, especially now? Blending commentary with memoir, Ulin addresses the importance of the simple act of reading in an increasingly digital culture. Reading a book, flipping through hard pages, or shuffling them on screen - it doesn't matter. The key is the act of reading, and it's seriousness and depth. Ulin emphasizes the importance of reflection and pause allowed by stopping to read a book, and the accompanying focus required to let the mind run free in a world that is not one's own. Are we willing to risk our collective interest in contemplation, nuanced thinking, and empathy? Far from preaching to the choir, The Lost Art of Reading is a call to arms, or rather, to pages.
I am a reader who, during a few anxiety-driven years, found myself caught up in a dizzying attempt to be connected and “in the know”, leaving very little time for reflection. I believe that Ulin is speaking to that kind of reader. His essay is an exhortation to inspire the distracted reader to remember what they once knew, as opposed to an argument to convert the resistant to a reading life. —The Everything of Books