Reading insecurity. It is the subjective experience of thinking that you’re not getting as much from reading as you used to. It is setting aside an hour for that new book … and spending it instead on Facebook (scrolling dumbly through photos of people you barely remember from your high school). It is deploring your attention span and missing the flow, the trance, of entering a narrative world without bringing the real one along. It is realizing that if Virginia Woolf was correct to call heaven “one continuous unexhausted reading,” then goodbye, you have been kicked out of paradise.
So where does this leave us…? I would not turn back the clock on the Internet, obviously. I am not stupid enough to question the tremendous good it does, even if at times I stare at my computer screen and feel like a water strider posed tantalizingly atop a stream of inaccessible knowledge… And yet. I worry that, over the past few years of living much of my life online, my relationship to text—especially the spacious, get-lost-in-it kind—has changed for the worse. It’s called reading insecurity. Do you have it?"