The best way to enjoy a book? Learn to ‘slow read’

The best way to enjoy a book? Learn to ‘slow read’

By Kate Barlow

I am no slow eater. I can’t remember the number of times I was told as a child not to gobble(ˈɡäbəl) my food. Neither have I ever been a slow reader. I went through(THro͞o) books like combine(ˈkämˌbīn) harvesters(ˈhärvəstər) through crops(kräp) in the English village of my childhood. I suspect I will continue to gobble my food until, and no doubt(dout) including, my last meal on this Earth.

But books! Now they are an entirely different matter. During these days of isolation and physical distancing I have at last seen the error of my ways and decided to make changes. Mainly(ˈmānlē), I must admit, because I am deprived(dəˈprīvd) of bookstores and libraries.

Browsing online, be it ever so simple, is just not the same as standing before floor-to-ceiling shelves(SHelvz) crammed(kram) with tomes(tōm) and breathing in that aroma(əˈrōmə) of brand new volumes(ˈvälyəm) as you select a book and carefully take it down. Add to that, the wonderful dusty, musty atmosphere(ˈatməsˌfir) inside a good second-hand bookstore and I am in heaven.

But no longer, or at least not for some time.

So I have decided the time has come to teach myself to slow read. Didn’t someone once say “it’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good?”

I imagine slow reading to be like slow cooking; a mixture(ˈmiksCHər) of ingredients(inˈɡrēdēənt) melded(meld) into something one can truly savour(ˈsāvər). Slow reading is enjoying each sentence, absorbing(əbˈzôrbiNG) those paragraphs of description sweated over by the author and more often than not skipped over by readers like me who as soon as we get the gist are anxious(ˈaNG(k)SHəs) to get to the action.