jusummerhayes

Slow reading

"Cultures older than our own widely believed that words carried a magical, generative power. They were not mere symbolic ephemera, arbitrary signs connected through arbitrary social convention to the real world of things. Words were emanations of land and life, partaking intimately of the beingness of the things, processes, and qualities they signified. To name a thing was to invoke it." — Stephen Jenkinson, Come of Age: The Case for Elderhood in a Time of Trouble (p. xv), North Atlantic Books, Kindle Edition. 

Of late, I've found myself drawn to deep, concentrated reading — mostly fiction.

It makes a change from the day job — a commercial lawyer — where I'm required to read prolix documents and do it in double-quick time.

I'll be honest, it's quite hard to break that habit when I read a book. In fact, if I'm not careful (and unless I find the words utterly compelling), I start to skim read the pages in order to get the gist of what's being said and finish it as quickly as possible. It's one reason why I've a few of my favourite books on Audible because, that way, I've more chance of capturing the full panoply of meaning.

I've found that one way to induce a slower pace is to reread paragraphs and sometimes whole pages. That's what I did with Ian McKewan's book, Black Dogs, which I enjoyed so very much. Mind you, I wouldn't say I've cracked my proclivity to speed read and a lot depends on my mood and the quality of the writing. (I read a book by Carlos Castaneda and although I finished it, I can't now remember much of it or the story.) 

One other thing that's made the experience more enjoyable is to sit in the lounge in my favourite chair — actually I share it with Alfie! — and make sure I've got a glass of water to hand. I do find, I don't know why, that I get quite dehydrated when reading. It's not like it's a competitive sport but it feels like it sometimes.

What about you? If it's even possible, do you have a style of reading? I'd love to know.

Have a wonderful Saturday.

Blessings, Ju

Photo by Bank Phrom on Unsplash


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