Reading Confession

I’ll admit it: I can be a slow reader.

I mean slooooow.

Especially when I’m enjoying a book.

So often, it seems, we prize fast. If something is fast, it must be good: it’s a page-turner. Finished it in an afternoon! We even say time flies when we’re having fun.

The faster the better, we all say.

But is it, really?

I so love this quote from Barrack Obama on the value of reading:

“At a time when events move so quickly and so much information is transmitted, the ability to slow down and get perspective, along with the ability to get in somebody else’s shoes — those two things have been invaluable to me.”

This is exactly how I often feel about reading. I’ve done plenty of gobbling-down-a-whole-book-in-a-day (especially during summers at the lake). But there’s also such pleasure to be had in really spending time with a book, rather than speeding through it, gobbling up an initial impression, then moving on to the next volume. There’s joy in savoring turns of phrases. Really thinking about the characters or the overall structure. Letting passages sink in. Going back and re-reading portions.

Often, when I find a book I want to spend that much time with, well, then, that’s when I know I’ve stumbled onto something really special…


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