Mr. Darcy and our Lacking Concentration

Just saying, this post was super fun to write and I laughed my ass off during the process of writing this! I can’t believe the things I come up with every now and then ;)

Daily Dose

Yesterday I read this article about how reading is good for your health. According to researchers from Stanford reading, and thinking about what it is you’re reading, helps to train your ability to concentrate. Because you are training this ability you will be able to concentrate better and your performance regarding other tasks will improve as well. “Reading a literary text intensively requires coordination from multiple complex cognitive functions”.

Hell, we already knew that! Why it takes people so long to realize this is, honestly, quite baffling to me and what it shocks me even more is that it actually takes research and studies for people to believe something that is so obnoxiously obvious to all of us readers.

But that’s not why I’m writing this post right now. Nope, I’m totally thinking about something else here! Did anyone notice where I stated that reading helps you concentrate on other tasks as well? Well I did! I agree with this and without a doubt believe this is true, but a part of me guffawed while reading this. Know where I am going with this?

Well, let  me enlighten you. How many of you have had a major book-hangover for days after reading this awesome book? Probably a lot –that includes myself –and let me tell you, when I am under the influence this so called book-hangover, I have a hard time concentrating on anything else but that book! I’ll let you in on some of the main causes for some epic book hangovers.

Literary boys –cue swoon –have many times been the cause of limited ability to concentrate on anything else but that swoonable character. Yes I know that is not an official word, but it is to us book-nerds and we take our fictional characters very seriously. There is nothing like a fictional guy that sweeps you off your feet and seriously limits the ability to concentrate and think rationally. Ladies, do I hear the name Mr. Darcy being whispered?

A character death, involving one of your favorite characters in a series, can leave us with the severe inability to concentrate as well. The same character that you have loved fiercely throughout two whole books, and then the author so cruelly rips him or her out of your life (and out of your book!). Does the name Tris Prior ring a bell?

Some books, or rather the authors behind the book, have the ability to create art with their words. The words and sentences they form are almost poetic and the worlds they create are beyond anything you could’ve imagined yourself. The story they bring to you is so magical that every time you think back to the reading process, you’re transported back to the wonderful place that is your imagination. You get the dreamy look in your eyes and anything remotely important that you had scheduled for that day becomes second best to day-dreaming. Can I get a shout for J.R.R. Tolkien with the Lord of the Rings trilogy and his tale about the Hobbit? Don’t we all still wish for that mysterious letter to arrive by owl messenger? The letter with an invitation to a wonderful place called Hogwarts, created by the magical imagination of our beloved J.K. Rowling.

Have I made my point yet? Lots of readers have experienced the tremendous slap in the face the world of fiction stowed upon them and delivered the irrevocable fate of a book-hangover. Those readers suffer the consequences and are left with the inability to concentrate on anything else besides the magical story that has just come to an end.

I think we can all say that –while there obviously must be exceptions to this rule –there is no such thing as reading improving our ability to concentrate. If anything, this realm of fiction, will damage us to the point that the only thing left to care about is surviving the ending to a truly amazing book (or person).

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  1. 11/12/2013 / 17:43

    Love this discussion, Iris! Especially this —–> “Literary boys– cue swoon– have many times been the cause of limited ability to concentrate on anything else but that swoonable character.” SO DAMN TRUE! I do think that reading does help us concentrate in some unconscious way, but it does distract us sometimes. Getting transfixed on a character or a book can get unhealthy but we love it anyway, don’t we? ;)

    • Iris
      11/12/2013 / 17:49

      Haha, Thank you!
      I do think it does help us concentrate as well, and I love to read the research papers on it. I actually found an article where they monitored peoples brains while reading Jane Austen, and they can see changes in the brain happening while reading intensively. Its really interesting.

      I just had a lot of fun with this post, because on some unconscious way reading does help us concentrate, but damn… there’s been quite some times that I got all kinds of distracted ;)

  2. 11/12/2013 / 20:36

    Great discussion! I actually think that it’s a little bit of both! Sometimes when I’m so engrossed in a book, I’m so focused on reading it I don’t even hear people talking to me. When that happens, I think it helps my focusing ability. This probably helps my concentration with studying too.
    But yeah, like you say, swoony literary boys are quite distracting! Especially when reading an awesome book, the only thing I can think about is reading that book. And that’s horrible when you have to study for exams!
    So yeah, it’s both good and bad for concentrating in my opinion.

    • Iris
      11/12/2013 / 20:42

      Thanks, Yeah I know what you mean with it being both! I get the same, all in my own zone and I don’t hear anything.

      It was just that the article said that that it helps us concentrating on other matters -beside reading- and that’s what I thought was funny.

      Though I do think it is true… but not with all books, and definitely not when you have a book hangover haha. It’s damn bad for school work every now and then ;)

  3. 27/12/2013 / 21:20

    Love this post. Yes, reading can help you concentrate. Though for me, that concentration is not related in any way to the real world. That’s a bit weird. Let’s face it, if I had to choose between focusing on chores or the news program and focusing on the latest book I’m dying to read, the book wins! At least I know there’s some form of happy ending (even if chores do have a somewhat happy ending, the process to get there is way too painful :P )

    I have had some major book hangovers this year and they just ripped me apart and the thought of reading another book made me want to cry (yes, they were brutal *le sigh*) And most fictional guys are so amazing, it’s hard to not swoon over them. I do get quite violent, though, when a non-reader dares to laugh at my crushes on fictional characters. They just don’t get it, do they?

    I do believe it is strange they had to make a study to prove it’s healthy to read. Makes me wonder what scientists did when psychology was just being discovered as a science or when brain functions were researched. Why they waited so long to make this study confuses me a lot.

    • Iris
      30/12/2013 / 23:56

      Those darn non-readers… I know what you mean about them laughing over our fictional crushes! They really really don’t get it, and frankly they’re missing out! Big time! If I’d meet some of my fictional crushes for real, I’d have the best freaking day of my life. And all those non-readers would be jealous *evil grin* Unfortunately… that hasn’t happened yet.
      That about the study is spot on. I’ve always seen reading as healthy, food for the brain and all, its what my mom always said :)
      Thanks for commenting, I had fun writing this post, and at first wasn’t planning on posting it. That was until my sister told me I should.

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