The pile is waiting. The pile is getting higher. The pile looks impressive, probably isn't, still feels slightly overwhelming, vaguely threatening, even as it sighs, waits, drums its fingers on the inside of my skull, promising all manner of wonder and insight and syntactical bliss if I'd just, please, maybe, right now, even for just an hour or three, pay it some serious, focused attention. Please?
It's a bit of a problem. More than that, it's a moral, ethical, personal issue, a deep indignity of the soul, a painful twist to the nipple of my id.
See, I love books. Admire and appreciate and adore. Was a lit major at Berkeley, read voraciously, still love to read, still like to consider myself a big consumer of books and deep thinker about bookish issues and ideas and authoralia.
And yet, if I'm painfully honest, I have to admit it: I barely read books anymore...
About a year ago the most astounding thing happened: The hard drive on my MacBook suffered a rare and painful meltdown when I was away on vacation. I was, much to my initial horror, to be e-mail/Net-free for over a week. What was I missing? Who was e-mailing? What about all the blogs and the news and the Significant Global Happenings? What of all the salacious offerings of nubile flesh and social wonderment stroking my in-box as I sat there, entirely cut off and adrift?...
When I finally got my precious MacBook back, when all e-mail was restored and all Net access was re-granted and I was able to dive back into the perky digital maelstrom, when I spent a few hours and got all caught up, it finally hit me: I'd missed exactly nothing. The world was exactly the same. The beautiful churn continued, same as it ever was, with or without me. Isn't that fantastic? Someone should write a book about it.
You really should read the whole thing, It is brutally honest about how we convince ourselves that we have to have the Internet to survive and that reading a real book is too difficult.