Well, I thought that I’d start off April’s roster of articles with something a little bit different. Over the past couple of years, I’ve found myself watching a lot of PC building videos on Youtube.
Even though the closest things I’ve ever done to actual PC building are replacing a DVD drive and oiling a case fan, there’s just something cool about watching knowledgeable people building computers and then testing them by running the latest games and carefully noting how many frames per second (or “FPS”. Not to be confused with the computer game genre frequently used for testing this) their system is able to render – and, as every elite PC gamer knows, the ideal FPS is 90 (it apparently used to be 60, but then the console gamers started catching up. And we can’t have that, can we?).
But, although I’ve got back into gaming over the past few months, I still find myself reading more novels than playing games. Reading novels has a reputation for being a “geeky” activity today – but with none of the slick, modern and RGB-lit glamour of the PC building and gaming scene’s unique brand of geekiness 😦 Well, fear no more readers! We can have some of this too!
PC building, like sports cars and fast food, is all about speed. And we readers can do this too. After all, who wants to savour the world, characters and exquisite narration of a brilliant novel over a couple of deeply immersive reading sessions where the world just melts away for several hours? No-one, that’s who!
These days, the only thing that matters is doing things more quickly than everyone else. And, whilst you could do this by reading a fast-paced thriller novel, sticking to more efficiently-written modern novels and/or gradually building your vocabulary and confidence through years of regularly reading both old and new books in a variety of genres, where is the coolness in that? It would be like running an ancient 1990s computer game at ludicrous speeds on a low-end early 2010s computer. Utterly awesome in practice, but not something you can boast about to random people on the internet – and that is what really matters here!
So, here are three totally rad modern tips for reading novels at “90 FPS”. RGB lighting is NOT optional:
1) Screens: Chances are, you are reading this on a screen (
if you aren’t, then I salute you. Er… I mean, get with the times!). In fact, you’ve probably read a lot of websites on screens.
Screens are not only perfectly optimised for grabbing and holding your attention for far longer than you want them too, but their shape also means that screen-based text is often written and formatted in a way to allow for quick scanning and scrolling. I mean, who actually reads the average website word for word, carefully thinking about and comprehending the content of every sentence?
Screens are fast, modern and efficient. And, guess what, you can also boast about how fast you are speed-reading on social media whilst you are reading too. I’m sure that people are even developing “apps” that will add a fun social media feed beside the text of your book, which allow you to read and comprehend both at once. You do have a multi-core brain, don’t you?
If you’re one of those dreary old traditionalists who prefers *ugh* paper books, then don’t worry about it. The tech industry has you covered. Virtual reality is the hot new thing at the moment and I’m sure it won’t be long before someone creates a virtual reading “app” for it that allows you to read virtual paper books from behind the safe comfort blanket of two screens strapped to your face.
Yes, you might say “Wouldn’t it be cheaper to just read a real book?“. Well, smarty pants, answer me this! HOW are you supposed to live-stream a paper book to your followers on Youtube whilst also offering snarky commentary and amusing on-screen GIFs? You’d actually have to read it alone without hundreds of thousand people staring over your shoulder. Ugh! It doesn’t even bear thinking about. Oh no, now I’m thinking. It’s happening again! Jeeves! Fetch the smartphone and order me a collection of the latest memes, on the double!!!
2) Speed-reading apps: As everyone knows, all the cool people use “apps” these days. After all, what kind of dinosaur uses a fully-featured computer program when they could be using a smaller (yet somehow more bloated) simplified mobile phone “app” that is also kind enough to remind you about itself regularly through lots of helpful notifications and non-optional updates?
Anyway, a quick search on the internet will show you that there are a few speed-reading “apps” out there. The most prominent type seems to be ones that flash up a single word at a time, allowing you to subliminally absorb it in a fraction of a second before automatically moving on to the next one. Not only that, since you can see and/or choose the rate at which words appear, you’ll also have the most important thing of all – impressive-sounding statistics that you can brag about on the internet 🙂
Sure, some people might point out that seeing a single word at a time with little to no accompanying context and no ability to quickly jump backwards and re-read means that even the best novel would be reduced to mindless gibberish, robbed of its power to summon beautiful worlds inside the reader’s imagination. And this may well be true. But, who cares when you can quite literally “read” a novel at 1000 words a minute just by staring at a screen. Progress!
3) Watch the film: Books are old technology. I mean, museums even have books from the middle ages. Talk about obsolete!
Well, your friends in Hollywood have got your back here! If a book is worth reading, then these awesome people will turn it into a gloriously efficient two-hour film that strips out all of the useless stuff like sub-plots, detailed character development, thought-provoking intellectual depth, beautiful prose written in a unique style, the reader’s imagination and intriguing descriptive asides.
Why waste six to eight hours of effort reading a novel, when you can lay back on the sofa and get through the same story in a blisteringly fast two hours, with lots of well-known celebrity actors saving you the inefficient work of having to create your own bespoke images of the characters from written descriptions? And, best of all, Hollywood usually gets it absolutely right. I mean, just look at how eerily accurate their casting was for the burly, toweringly tall muscle mass that is Lee Child’s well-known action hero Jack Reacher. It’s almost like reading the books! Hollywood is awesome!
Although films may only be created at a measly 24 FPS (Ugh! Even console gamers would notice that!), you can watch them in 4K – which, as any PC gamer knows, is the bare minimum resolution for when you want to show off on the internet. And it is basically the same as reading the book. I think. Oh heavens! Jeeves! Reality TV – five seconds ago! What do you mean that the smart TV is still updating? Damn and blast it! Break out the radio! Yes, that old thing! Find a station that is playing the charts! Be quick about it!
Happy April Fools’s Day everyone 🙂