Humans... seem to be developing digital brains with new circuits for skimming through the torrent of information online. This alternative way of reading is competing with traditional deep reading circuitry developed over several millennia....Haven't we always had to shift between different styles of paying attention? Imagine us in evolutionary times, before the printed word, when we were out and about looking for food, trying to survive. The ancestors who contributed to our brain structure had to skim and scan and then lock onto details. Isn't this agility functional?
But Wolf bemoans students' inability to read "Middlemarch" and William James and Henry James: "The students no longer will or are perhaps incapable of dealing with the convoluted syntax and construction of George Eliot and Henry James."
Maybe they are rejecting this kind of writing for good reason. Their elders impose this reading on them, but the key question is whether they can shift to accurate and closely detailed reading when they've found something they think is worth their attention.