I don’t know about you, but I’m amazed and fractionally suspicious of anyone who manages to read several books in a week. I was happy to find this article about the joys of reading slowly, and I utterly agree.
If a book is worth reading, it must be absorbed, sentence by sentence, which often means re-reading paragraphs if they are tricky – or if they are delightful.
I only ever have time to get to books I think are going to be worth opening these days, since time seems ever more precious. I’ve found bliss from reading Don DeLillo, a man whose sentences ring with style and finesse, and rereading only sends you deeper. M John Harrison is another, where burying beneath the prose brings you further zen-like realisations, makes you question more about the text and yourself. His words sparkle.
Why is it that people seem to insist on reading so many books a week. Is it to tick them off some grand list to impress their mates? Is it a sign of the times to have such levels of consumption? Are they reading it properly? Or are they reviewers such as this one? Surely taking your time with something worthwhile stirs the soul. The kind of thing that makes summers endless, humid, pungent, sensual things we remember for years after.
I like to think that authors who slave over sentence-craft are rewarded by readers who do the same, who take their time to enjoy the work in their hands. Maybe I’m just a frilly-cuffed romantic fool, but I wish more readers would take their time instead of racing through paragraphs. Sure, books must entertain, but that’s a basic standard. I wonder what other writers think about their work being read at speed?