According to a recent study, our individual attention span has plummeted dramatically from 12 minutes in 2000 down to 5 minutes currently. Speaking for the ADD in many of us, 5 minutes sounds like a lot -- especially when it comes to listening to or reading a new book. Sure, there are compulsive finishers among us who must slog through anything to the end no matter how boring it is. These are the people who got all A's in school. If you're one of them, you can stop reading this now but of course you won't.
For the rest of us ADDers, if a book doesn't grab hold within the first few minutes, we're gone. Therefore, as a public service, here are some titles you may be tempted to pick up, but do not meet our shorter attention span criteria:
SLIGHT OF HAND by Phillip Margolin, HarperAudio: Margolin's previous Oregon-based legal land novels starring private eye, Dana Cutler are reliably entertaining. Unfortunately, Slight of Hand is not one of them. Maybe he -- or we -- are running out of steam because there's a been-there-done-that formula to this one. It's got the obligatory stolen relic from olden days, a criminal defense attorney who's a professional hit-man and PI Cutler who does her best to make sense of it all. She doesn't succeed. Narrator Jonathan Davis soldiers through it all but we ADDers are prone to dump of this audiobook within minutes.
THE HIT by David Baldacci, Hachette Audio: A U.S. government-sanctioned hit man goes up against an equally dangerous professional hit woman. Routine mayhem ensues but does not satisfy. Even the talented narrator Ron McLarty doesn't help the listener get past the first half-hour. The prolific Baldacci is allowed a clunker every now and then.
THE SIEGE by Stephen White, Brilliance Audio: It's a hostage-taker story with an 'explosive' opening scene intended to propel the listener/reader into the action. It doesn't. The author takes us in several different, overly-written storyline directions which only serve to defuse and confuse. It's challenging getting beyond the first of the 12 audio discs in this 14-hour unabridgment. Veteran narrator Dick Hill tries way too hard to pump up the non-existent excitement.
TRIGGERS by Robert J. Sawyer, Brilliance Audio: The president lies in a hospital after an unsuccessful assassination attempt. A bomb takes out the White House and triggers an electrical pulse that screws up a memory experiment going on in the same hospital. Everybody suddenly has access to everybody else's memory -- including the president of the United States. Sounds promising. It isn't.
It's very tough for authors to grab and sustain our interest given our ever-decreasing attention spans. Can you imagine a few years from now when the 5 minutes is down to 2? Oh, wait, for many of us, it's already here.