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If I had to name one high-cultural notion that had died in my adult lifetime, it would be the idea that difficulty is artistically desirable.
As teenagers' scores on standardized reading tests have declined or stagnated, some argue that the hours spent prowling the Internet are the enemy of reading -- diminishing literacy, wrecking attention spans and destroying a precious common culture that exists only through the reading of books.
But others say the Internet has created a new kind of reading, one that schools and society should not discount.
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