On Time Magazine, Lev Grossman posts a hilarious essay about the art of reading and walking at the same time. He discusses the ins and outs of wandering around with your nose tucked in a book, and how you do it most efficiently:
My first move is to clamp the book under one arm, inside-out, at my current page, like a running-back with a football, so I can whip it out at a moment’s notice.
Then I pick my spots. Short bursts is the approach. You look for a stretch of open sidewalk, maybe a half a block, you hastily memorize the major obstacles, and then you glance down at the book. You’re speed-reading here—you don’t so much run your eye over the page as grab the next few sentences all at once. Then the book goes back under the arm. You look up again and digest the words as you walk. You check your location and bearing, like a submarine, and you prepare to dive again.
Strangers look at you a bit funny, but come on—they’re strangers. Not like the characters you’re reading about. Sure, they may be fictional, but they’re not strangers. They matter.
Oh, I have so been there. Sometimes I’ve even chewed gum at the same time!
But I’m a little surprised that he gets through the entire article without ever once mentioning e-readers or smartphones. I mean, it’s so much simpler reading and walking with my iPod Touch. For one thing it doesn’t take up as much space as a book so I can look around it more easily. And thanks to my FlyGrip, I can hold and operate it efficiently with one hand and no fear of dropping it.
And there’s the app for the iPhone that goes even further than that, superimposing the words over an augmented reality view through the camera. Reading and walking at the same time has never been so easy! (Not necessarily all that much safer, though.)