Since I was a little girl, I have been a compulsive reader. I read everything that was available to me.In the 1950's, children were expected to visit family and friends with their parents but there was little provision of entertainment. I was older than many of the children of my parents' friends and I was 11 before my first cousin was born. I learned to take a book along or read what was available. That could be Shakespeare or the Bible.
Books were my friends, my sanctuary and my means of transcendence over a world that seemed to me quite grey and monotonous. My favourite books were about young women who wanted to write or to travel the world. I was Jo not Amy or Meg or Beth in Little Women and I read a collection of Beverly Gray books that had belonged to my mother. Beverly went away to college and eventually found love and adventure as a foreign correspondent.
Beverly is portrayed as an extraordinarily determined individual: "There was a driving ambition in her heart that would not let her idle her life away."
I'm a literature major (French and English) who understands what a prof in my second year meant when she said that Madame Bovary would be experienced differently depending on the age and the experience of the reader. In short, reading expands my interior life and brings ideas and experiences into my day to day living.
In the last six years, since I formally retired, I have grown more and more attached to my laptop computer. When I was living in Paris, my friend introduced me to Janice MacLeod's blog, Paris Letters, written by a fellow Canadian who was living in my neighbourhood. I enjoyed reading Janice's blog and quickly became a devotee of another blog, The Vivienne Files, written by Janice Riggs.
I used to buy a lot of clothing when I was working. I liked colour and print but I tended to buy "outfits" instead of creating an integrated capsule wardrobe. After my retirement, I travelled almost 6 months of the year. Since I travelled alone, a compact, cohesive wardrobe was important. The Vivienne Files gave me the tools to simplify my life.
My blog reading grew and grew to include lifestyle blogs, wardrobe blogs, travel blogs and book blogs. On waking, I check to see if there are any new posts by my favourite bloggers. Blogging has created an online community.
My online reading has expanded to include an subscription to the New York Times. I don't read the whole paper but start with the "my daily briefing" feature and then follow links to other articles of interest. I am a research type of person. Whenever I am discussing a topic, I want to know the accurate information upon which to base my thesis. Again, I'm reading on the computer.
My friend and I are going to a movie this afternoon...reviews and showtimes will help us make our
selection. My kitchen needs painting...Pinterest...and on it goes. I follow activities of friends in Oaxaca and family in Shetland on Facebook. Our 'Portal' from work keeps me informed about events and policies at school.
How much is too much? I am not a hermit chained to my laptop. I also walk, talk to friends, clean the apartment, do laundry, cook, work 3 days a week and read at least 10 books in a month. Clearly, my Internet reading has increased tenfold in six years. How do you use the Internet? Has your use increased substantially in the last few years? How much is too much? I'd love to know.