Thursday, May 21, 2009

Slow Reading by John Miedema (53/81)

Slow Reading by John Miedema
999 Challenge Category: Books about Books/Reading/Writing

Based on the title, I assumed that Slow Reading would tell me all the things I'm doing wrong. I read at a fairly fast pace, averaging about two books a week, and often chose teen books over Literature. I expected that, while having an interesting premise, I would ultimately disagree with the author if he told me I should slow down and read only "good" books.

That's not what this book is about. "Slow reading" is less about pace (though that tends to be a factor) that it is a deliberate mental shift from task-oriented purpose to pleasure: "The most obvious sense of slowness in reference to quality is temporal - we stop racing against the clock to better appreciate a meal or a book" (43). In five short chapters, Miedema calls for a return to this pleasurable savoring of books, Literature or no. He draws on such diverse subjects as the connection between religion and slow reading, the innate differences between online and from-the-page reading, and neuroscience to make his points. Besides agreeing more than I thought I would, I found myself slow reading his book as I stopped to ponder my own reading experiences, talk back about a point that struck me, or looked through the thorough list of references in the back to follow up an intriguing idea. I appreciated the thorough citations that allowed me to look into more books or articles regarding the subjects I was most intrigued by. 4.5 stars.

Cross-posted at Born Reader.

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