In light of my recent post about my reading slump, or more like my slow plodding through Nausea, I came across this article on Guardian – The Art of Slow Reading. How very fitting (I just also want to mention how much I’m in love with the Guardian’s page on books and all things bookish). Slow Reading, much like the movements of Slow Food and Slow Travel, encourages people to savour their read and to take their time. Some great points are made in the article. It not only discusses how the act of reading something slowly is a dying form due to the widespread use to text messaging and micro-blogging (hello Twitter!) but also the slow death of lengthy articles with the writer using his long-ish article as a point in case. One of the best example of Slow Reading is English studies at university where every page and almost every sentence is analysed and thought about. I remember doing this in uni and sometimes it’ll frustrate me so much because the author could have felt lazy or had a bad day and simply stuck that certain word into that particular sentence with no meaning to it whatsoever. On the other hand, it was great way to actually understand the book, the story and the language. Certainly, there is the time and need for speed reading such as plowing through all those research articles.
As a naturally slow reader, and one who doesn’t like to rush through a book (unless it’s a whodunnit), I agree with the points made in the article. Sometimes, because I blog about what I read and how many books I get through, I have to remind myself that it’s the quality and not the quantity that is important. It’s also not, and never has been, a competition. Comparing myself to the other lovely bloggers out there who mange to plow through and review such a sheer quantity of book make the number of books I read pale in comparison. Keeping a count of the books I’ve read this year down the side of my blog might not be the best thing but I do admit to that childish delight of seeing how many books I’ve read this year and the titles. Each year I hope to improve on my number of books read. During very slow readings such as Nausea and Jude the Obscure, I sometime compare how many other shorter, quicker, easier books I would have finished in the same time I took to finish one of those slow reads. Of course, there are so many books out there that are waiting for me to read, as my ever increasing TBR pile can attest to, but I’m always so glad when I finish one of those tougher reads and the experience is undeniably fantastic. I wouldn’t give back the three weeks it took me read The Mill on the Floss and I’m looking forward to spending time curled with Anna Karenina for the first time.