Do books really strain us? Maybe. I do find my eyes getting blurry when I read for a long time. Sometime they dry out too, but that might just because I wear contacts now (Yay to losing my iconic purple nerd glasses!). I’m also supposed to wear reading glasses on top of my contacts when I read. But the same thing happens when I look at a computer screen for too long! That means it can’t be books that strain me, but reading.
There’s also the mental strain that comes with reading as that old dead dude, Octave Uzanne, suggested in his essay “The End of Books.” He might be right about that. When I was younger I could read a hundred pages without having to take a break! But now I find my mind wandering after only four pages. Maybe this has to do with age. Maybe this has to do with technology destroying my attention span. Maybe I was just reading easier books back then and the books I read now require way more brain power to understand.
While I don’t completely agree with that dusty dude’s view on books, I do find it impressive that he could conceive of devices in 1894 that are very similar to devices we have today to help replace the actual act of reading.