What I Read: Nathaniel Philbrick

The author explains his Media Diet

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How do other people deal with the torrent of information that pours down on us all? Do they have some secret? Perhaps. We are asking various journalists who seem well-informed to describe their media diets. This is from an exchange with Nathaniel Philbrick, author of Mayflower and In the Heart of the Sea, which won the National Book Award.

My wife insisted that I needed to get a Blackberry about a year ago. I got one, but I wish I hadn’t. Before I walk the dog or work out or whatever, I’ll turn on my Blackberry and see what comes through. I get a few newsletters, some of them local. One of them is a sailing newsletter called Scuttlebutt and there’s a local Nantucket-related newsletter Mahon About Town.

We now have a Kindle, on which we get our New York Times, but we also get the paper version of the Boston Globe in the morning. On Nantucket, we get a lot of fog, so often the paper doesn’t get here because the plane can’t get in. If we get a bad sequence of storms it can be three days before we get a paper. So the Kindle has been a revelation; at least we always have The New York Times. Also, some mornings if we’ve got a little time, we’ll turn on the TV and watch the morning shows, just a matter of minutes, just to see what’s out there.

By nine, I’m in the office getting to work. What I'm finding now is that there are all these potential distractions and I have to shut down my e-mail and Blackberry and try to get down to the work in a way I never had to before. I'll work all morning and try to live in whatever century I’m writing about.

I'm often so burned out by reading all day that I like to watch really stupid TV for a half hour or so before going to bed. I’m a huge 30 Rock fan.

Right before bed, I may also read a bit.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.