June 26, 2012

The Art of Reading Slowly

I am reading slowly.

I've always prided myself on my ability to read fast. I can gobble up the majority of books I come across in a period of one to three hours, which usually amounts to one sitting. Sometimes two. But right now, I am reading slowly.

I didn't do it on purpose. It was a side effect of getting busy. At the beginning of June my free time became WRITING TIME, and it's been that way ever since. So there aren't any more spare hours lying around for reading. I read on my lunch break - twenty minutes, if that. I read before I go to bed, in quick thirty minute snatches. I read when I can, is what I'm trying to say. And though it's now taking me significantly longer to finish books, I'm actually quite enjoying the pace.

Now that I know I'm not going to finish the book, my reading time isn't a race to the end. I feel free to take things leisurely, lingering over words, desirous of knowing what comes next but not impatient like I usually am. Reading slowly allows me to read more closely, and more deeply. It gives me more time to digest less material before moving on to the next chapter, and the next. When I finish a book I feel like I've finished a seven course meal in Paris instead of eating standing up over the stove.

I'm still happy to be a fast reader. It's an ability I wouldn't give up for the world, this talent that allows me to keep pace with my voracious appetite for words. But little by little, I'm learning the delicate art of reading slowly, and this talent too is one I will savor.

What am I currently reading slowly? At home I read A Game of Thrones. I read this for the first time three years ago, but thought I'd revisit it in case I happen across the television series. As always, George R. R. Martin is exceptional. All I have to do is keep pretending to myself that no one is going to end up dead in the next chapter. At work, I'm working my way through A Confusion of Princes, by Garth Nix. Sabriel is one of my absolute favorite books, so it's surprising that I haven't read everything Nix has written. So far the new book is really interesting conceptually. We'll see if it can pull off being fascinating for the whole book.

So that's how my reading life is going this week. What about yours? What are you all reading?

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