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Adventures in Writing, Reading & Book Culture

Revamped Reading Program

I’ve now read 22 books in 26 weeks. That’s a lot of books. But some of them I can barely remember motif & theme, much less characters. This must stop!

The idea is not quantity, but the quality of reading (and books, of course; you’ll see no Harry-Fucking-Potter shit in this house). What I want to do is read more slowly, because the speed with which I’m tearing through these books is what has taken the remembrance pleasure (principle) from the experience.

Most of my reading happens during the day, when I travel from company to company, and waiting for students, and during breaks. That’s enough to finish the average 380-page book in 6-7 days. Only, as I’ve said, the deep-reading experience for some stories has been greatly depreciated, or altogether lost, with the reading pace.

So now I simply take each sentence on its own, reading for its timbre, pitch, rhythm, and content. Because what an author has to say within each sentence is the most important part of any story, and of each character. I’ve practiced this renewed deep-reading experience on the latest book, and have just finished Iris Murdoch’s “The Message to the Planet” — a tome of some 275,000 words.

The reading took me nearly 3 wks, but I’ve absorbed much more of what Murdoch had to say about her characters, the story, the philosophy behind the book, and all her great imagery and dialogue (“Goodbye, look after yourself, don’t let that bitch break your heart.”) Now, on to the next great story.

Keep reading people! Life is short, don’t waste it watching too much mindless television.

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