As a writer of stories it naturally makes sense that I should read a lot in order to improve my craft. That much is obvious, right?
Yet I don’t read that much. Or rather I don’t read as much as I believe I must, given my passion. Perhaps it’s unwise to admit this publicly, but I probably read two books at most each month. This used to bother me a great deal.
The benefit of reading is undeniable, and perhaps because of that there’s a growing trend towards consuming as much of the written word as possible. Every person worth their salt claims to read dozens (hundreds!) of books each year. And there is just so much speed reading advice out there to help people achieve others achieve lofty goals.
That was me, a few years ago.
I read all wrong you see. I’m slow, I voice the words in my head, I don’t draw my finger along the page. I certainly don’t skip the words at the end of each line, safe in the knowledge my peripheral vision will pick them up for me. And if I lose focus at any time, I reread the last few paragraphs to make sure it sinks in.
When it’s put like that, maybe I’m not reading so wrong after all. I mean, when did it become par for the course to consume the written word like it was fast food? Back when I was forcing myself to read more I was also forcing myself to read books I didn’t care for, and forcing myself to move onto a new book before I’d fully digested the previous one. It stopped being a pleasure and became a chore, another target to be achieved, another box to be ticked.
So now I’m fine with my slow reading rate. After all, I don’t binge watch TV, I don’t spend hours mindlessly gaming on my Playstation. Why should my reading be any different? I can honestly say that all the books I’ve read in the last five months have moved me, touched me and inspired me. It’s been time well spent.