Peter Hajas

Pre-Victorian Revival Reading

December 30, 2020

A thought that has stuck with me is this passage from The Diamond Age:

One of the insights of the Victorian Revival was that it was not necessarily a good thing for everyone to read a completely different newspaper in the morning; so the higher one rose in the society, the more similar one's Times became to one's peers'.

I think about this a lot when it comes to the news. In the Stephenson Diamond Age-sense, I strive to read like the pre-Victorian Revival (or lower-status) folks.

Thanks to the power of feeds, I have tailored my reading experience exactly to my liking. As I read more, I end up collecting feeds of people's writing I find interesting (from friend recommendations, Hacker News, and other sources). Each time I discover a new feed, I do a deep dive on the page contents to come up to speed. As I get more feeds, I find myself reading aggregators less, and other sites more.

I find myself less inclined to habitually check for the next piece of information. This leaves more time for creative pursuits, spending time with my family and friends, and critical thinking.

If you're willing to change your habits, I've found that this manner of reading can be very fulfilling.