Saturday, 12 July 2008

Powers of Concentration

Here's a rather consoling article by Alan Massie in The Spectator. It's about the waning powers of concentration that dismay the ageing reader. I find it consoling for two reasons: firstly it confirms that I'm not the only one who suffers from it as I get older and secondly it offers a practical remedy. So it's not all downhill, then.

3 comments:

Carla said...

His comment about getting into the habit of skimming is a good point. I find I have to make a conscious effort to switch between different styles of reading - a quick skim through the newspaper is quite different from understanding the key parts of a report for work, and different again from being absorbed into a novel. Perhaps it's a little like the way that, say, cycling and walking use different sets of muscles and make you tired in different ways. In which case his suggestion of a sort of mental workout makes perfect sense. I'm less convinced about it being age-related, though.

Ruth said...

How very cheering! I too thought it was just me...

Another thought for keeping the brain moving... we used to have an elderly customer at our library who regularly wandered along the fiction shelves picking out half a dozen books at random. He explained that although he ended up taking home 'some terrible rubbish' it was worth it because occasionally he got a really nice and unexpected surprise in an author he wouldn't naturally have chosen.

I hope I'm still that ready for adventure when I'm 80.

Sarah Cuthbertson said...

Carla - As I get older I do find it harder to concentrate on reading of all kinds, except the most sound-bite-sh, if there's music playing or TV or radio is on. Just can#t multi-task any more.

Ruth - what an inspiring chap! I hope we're all as compos mentis as he is when we're 80.