Thursday, January 8, 2009

Slow and Steady They Say...

Thursday, January 8, 2009
As an avid reader, it always fascinates me to find out how quickly other people read. I've been accused of being a slow reader, but I'm beginning to think that's not a bad thing. In our time-poor world where everyone is rushing to find the important content and disregard the rest, I'm choosing to plod on at a leisurely pace.

When reading fiction, I tend to read as fast as my mind can sub-vocalise the prose. I think it's a good discipline to maintain, reading the story at the pace the writer intended it. Also, I re-read sentences I don't understand. I don't keep going, hoping I'll pick up the meaning later. This might mean that I read slower than most, but I think it's the proper way to do it.

I was horrified when a friend told me that when he reads, he'll skip pages if he gets bored. Another friend, who had a fairly impressive reading speed, admitted that by the time he's finished a book, he can't remember what he's just read. How can the first friend I mentioned convincingly claim he's actually read a  whole book, and how can the second claim he enjoyed reading a story if he can't remember it?

It used to be that some people would read to ease their mind. The slow, deliberate act of reading words on a bag would calm the heart's anxiety. In our hyperactive world that demands results right this instant, we need something to slow us down at the end of the day. Perhaps we could find solace again between the covers of a good book. Instead of attempting to stuff information into our tired, over-worked brains, we could focus on slowly, calmly plodding along through a good read, allowing our mind to be massaged and nourished by the well-written prose of our choice.


Therin of Andor said...

I can skim and scan if I have to, but when reading for pleasure I tend to read slowly - except in the exciting bits, of course.

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