In Praise of Reading Slowly
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I just finished a book I started last October. From the outset, I knew this book (A Million Little Ways by Emily Freeman) was one I’d be reading slowly, to savor and internalize. For once I didn’t feel guilty that it took me over four months to read 200 pages. In fact, it felt so right, to breathe and live between chapters, and sometimes only read a page at a time, that I wonder if more books should be read that way?
I carry a low-grade guilt for all the books I’m reading ‘gradually’. Yet should non-fiction really be consumed the way I learned to gobble up fiction–as fast as possible with the biggest bites I could fit into my schedule?
I think not…
Non-fiction has a chance to mold us and change us (more than so than novels, I think) if we partake of it like nourishment and not entertainment. We ought to let the truth of a good book influence the course of our lives, not simply occupy us for a few hours.
It’s okay for me to read a novel in one 24 hour period—as long as dinner’s still served and I don’t lose so much sleep that I’m a crabby mommy. In fact, it’s preferable that I read a novel all in one go, or I forget character’s names and the plot line!
But when I read non-fiction I am the main character, and the plot is my life. There’s no danger of forgetting who’s who. And the book itself can be a significant plot-influencer if I let it sink in, giving myself time to grow and change according to the truth I’ve read.
Here’s to good books and reading them slowly!
The books I’m currently reading (or re-reading) slowly:
What are you reading slowly?
(Enter to win a copy of A Million Little Ways by commenting on Jeannie’s review. And then pop over to my blog to read about “When Your Art Feels Ridiculous.”)