Friday, March 21, 2014

Taking It Slow

Yikes, two weeks since my last update? Not cute. Sorry, everyone! My lack of updates has been a combination of not reading as much, and preparing for something kinda sorta important that I don't want to talk about/jinx, but it sucked up a lot of my time and energy for a couple of days. But I'm back now!

Speaking of not reading as much, I wanted to talk about taking it slow.

Taking it slow as a reader can really be a good thing. Right now, there is a lot of buzz about the upcoming app, Spritz. This app boasts that it can help people read lengthy novels in a matter of hours. Sometimes even less, pushing the reader to read 300+ words per minute. This is cool for people who want to knock out War & Peace at some point in their lifetime, and book reviewers who structure their lives around keeping up with the latest releases and posting timely reviews. Lately, though, I've been enjoying taking it slow as a reader over a blogger. I think about it like this: most authors dedicate so much of their lives to perfecting their stories for us readers to enjoy. They pull their hair out over plot-structure, character building, and word choice. They spend months dealing with rejection and finding a home for their stories. I sometimes actually feel guilty for devouring books so quickly.

I recently finished A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. I chose to read it after my boyfriend told me I should. It was one of those evenings where I couldn't decide what to read next, and was standing in front of my book shelves for 20 minutes. Finally, he said, "read the one with the cool cover, the one I got you for Christmas." I've been dying to read this book since it came out, so I loved his suggestion, but my first thought was: "damn, that's going to take me forever." And forever it did take. Almost two weeks!

Taking it slow as a reader is a beautiful thing. You savor each word, become enthralled by the characters, heartbroken by them, notice the little things within the novel, and really give the novel enough time to work its way into your soul. Taking it slow as a blogger, though, is not always as enchanting. Most bloggers work really hard to make sure their content is always fresh and up-to-date with new content every time their readers come. Why? Because it's 2014, and not only are our attention spans pretty small, we know that if one site isn't going to give us something, we can find the next best thing elsewhere with one quick Google search. We love our readers, and want to keep building connections with them, and know that people out there are really enjoying what we're writing.

A lot of the time I feel the pressure to read very fast, or read shorter, easier to comprehend books that I can crank through and move on so I can get a new review up on here in a timely fashion. I'm also not one of those people who can easily keep up with memes and guest posts and fun features (let's be real, I'm kinda lazy ;), which is why my blog is 90% reviews. And when I take the time to read slow, that means I'm finishing books more slowly, which means my blog doesn't get updated as often which means
Taking it slow for A Tale for the Time Being was a great experience. For the first time in a long time, I was running to find a pen so I could underline passages. It was the first time in a long time that I allowed a book to stop and make me think. A lot of the times when I'm reading books quickly with a review in sight, my thought process becomes more direct. I liked/didn't like these three things. When I was reading A Tale for the Time Being, I thought about stuff beyond what I liked/disliked about the narrative. I thought about bullying, I thought about finding a home, time and how it exists in our world, the connectedness of things, Buddhism, faith, coincidence, community, family. I'm sure there are some people out there who would be able to get all of that out of a quick read, but sadly I'm not one of those people.

Don't even get me started on what reading slower has done to my Goodreads goal of 100 books this year:
Now that I'm reevaluating how I like to read, I may need to adjust that goal to something more realistic. This month I have only read two books. This is something that would normally make me cringe, but currently I'm feeling okay about it.

So what does my newly, readopted reading style mean for this blog? It means I'm really going to have to get creative. Whether it be some sort of check in, or fun posts relating to what I'm reading, I'll figure it out. I have this weekend off of work, so I will be coming up with some ideas (and probably heading to the bookstore again.)

How do you like to read? Are you a speed reader, or do you like to take it slow and savor whats on the page? I'd love to hear!

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes I speed read through books, because I am so engrossed in them. Other times, I read a book very slowly, because I want to read the book but I'm also afraid what is going to happen. (I think I can prevent things happening to characters by not reading the book.)