“Also, read slowly.” ~ Karen S. Prior

Also, read slowly. Just as a fine meal should be savored, so, too, good books are to be luxuriated in, not rushed through. Certainly, some reading merits a quick read, but habitual skimming is for the mind what a steady diet of fast food is for the body. Speed-reading is not only inferior to deep reading but may bring more harm than benefits: one critic cautions that reading fast is simply a ‘way of fooling yourself into thinking you are learning something.’ When you read quickly, you aren’t thinking critically or making connections. Worse yet, ‘speed-reading gives you two things that should never mix: superficial knowledge and overconfidence.’

Don’t be discouraged if you read slowly. Thoughtfully engaging with a text takes time. The slowest readers are often the best readers, the ones who get the most meaning out of a work and are affected most deeply by literature. Seventeenth-century Puritan divine Richard Baxter writes, ‘It is not the reading of many books that makes a man wise or good; but the well reading of a few, could he be sure to have the best.’

reading-well-priorA few more good thoughts on ‘reading well” in Karen S. Prior‘s new book by that title (On Reading Well, which I purchased at the local Barnes & Noble store last Fall (this is found on p.17). As I make my way through it this year, I will be posting some nuggets of wisdom for your benefit. There is much to be found just in the “Introduction” (as I continue to discover).

Published in: on February 25, 2019 at 10:12 PM  Leave a Comment