I just read an article about the art of slow reading. In a nutshell - thanks to the internet, we all read too fast, our minds wander and we are losing the ability to appreciate and absorb longer texts.
I read all of my books on paper - I know that's increasingly unique, but not in Ireland. Although the Sony e-Reader is popular over here, the Kindle still hasn't been released, and with the iPad announcement earlier this year, I think most Irish consumers are still waiting to see what will win before we sink cash into more plastic and wires. Plus, Irish consumers are notoriously resistant to change at the moment.
But I am guilty of a short attention span when I'm reading, even if I don't read any medium that has a built in web browser. I read on the bus a lot, sometimes with my headphones in, and I'm prone to dropping my book if I notice the Sudoku in the free newspaper hasn't been done, or if I remember I have a podcast to listen to. I read on my lunchbreaks from work, which is probably the closest I get to total immersion, but even then I'm constantly checking the time to make sure I'm not late back, or sending text messages.
But I'm not sure every book necessarily needs to be read slowly and with the level of focus that the Guardian suggests - some books have a different natural habitat. I'm currently working my way through the memoirs of an Irish childcare worker named Shane Dunphy, who has written a series of books about his professional experiences (the misery-memoir-y titles don't fully reflect the content - they are personal yet professional reflections). These books are about society, and so I feel they can be read anywhere - on the bus, in a cafe, in the doctor's waiting room, at home.
On the other hand, Alexander McCall Smith books are the literary equivalent of a hot chocolate with marshmallows and a Flake. Where possible, AMcCS is only read on the couch, or in bed, with a large pot of tea and some biscuits, when I'm sure I won't be disturbed. He's also a great Christmas Day read.
And then there's everything in between - any book can be read anywhere, but some are more rewarding when you put more into them. Alexander McCall Smith is a lovely, relaxing, pleasantly thought-provoking chill-out read and where possible, I treat him as such. Alice Hoffman is another writer I like to tackle when I have a bit of free time, because she creates such detailed and rich worlds without info-dumping. I might read Alice Hoffman on the bus but I certainly don't start her books on the bus. I've even been known to go to cafes specially to start my new Alice Hoffman.
Is this just me?
Oh, and after all that, have an Etch-A-Sketch of Elvis. When I go to read the Guardian's G2 supplement I try to bring you guys back two presents :p