Friday, January 14, 2011

slow reading

Sometimes I get comments that my blog is "too wordy." And it's not from teenagers. It's from literate adults. It makes me squirm a little. I don't think one of my posts is even the equivalent of an average chapter. And I don't think I'm too wordy. I actually think the Internet has redefined our expectations of writing length.

And by the way, a large number of words does not equate to wordiness. A writer is wordy when they use too many unnecessary words. 

I came across an article entitled, "The art of slow reading." It's really fantastic. The author, Kingsley, discusses the idea that taking the time to read is becoming more and more a thing of the past. I don't think anyone really understands the impact of this. Reading is not merely the ability to recognize words on a page (be that paper or web). Reading is the ability to understand a text (sometimes multiple texts) and then reach conclusions based on what you have read. It is an actual process and something that must be practiced. It also requires all of your attention to be done well. As Kinsley puts it, ". . . although . . . we have become very good at collecting a wide range of factual titbits, we are also gradually forgetting how to sit back, contemplate, and relate all these facts to each other."

Reading allows us to make good decisions for ourselves. It helps us become responsible citizens, effective workers, wise parents, and influential leaders. Really. Reading helps us in all of those endeavors. 

I love books. I absolutely love them. For the last few weeks I have been purging our home of anything that we don't need. When I came to my bookshelf, I was only able to part with two books (and one of them was a duplicate). I am not very sentimental about most physical objects, but books really have a special place in my heart. When I open one, I can remember where I was when I read it. I can remember what I felt. I can read my notes in the margins and think about how that book has influenced my life.

Another quote from the article sums up my feelings, "The binding of a book captures an experience or idea at a particular space and time. . . . When the reading is complete, you place it with satisfaction on your bookshelf." While the internet has a feeling of fluidity and constant change, books provide a feeling of stability. And still, so many of my favorites have seemed to grow and change with me over the years.

I get asked constantly for book suggestions. I read really random books and I don't always have good suggestions for people. I feel like that is something I should be better about. I am constantly getting updates from several of my friends on about books they have read. Sadly, I don't think I have updated my account since I started it. I suppose I will have to add this to my ridiculously long list of resolutions: Review the books I have read!

Are you on goodreads? We should be friends. Then maybe you can keep me accountable!


Jeff & Alisha said...

I love your long posts. I like knowing what you are thinking about and not just seeing a series of pictures of what you have been doing lately. :)

Nate said...

I love you

Passelly said...

M.C I am always looking for new books to read, we should be friends on goodreads- I would love to see what is on your book shelves!

Megan and Mike said...

your blog IS NOT TOO WORDY... and if someone thinks that they should stop reading it... i love your there. :) you never posted pic of your cute new house!!!

Joanna Galbraith said...

I think the people who say that are just jealous that you can write a long post and not add a picture, and yet it is still more interesting than their picture-filled post!

Meredith said...

I didn't read this. Too many words.

Heather Lee said...

Well, some people's words just aren't worth reading. But I read every single one of yours. Does that work? I'm always confused with sayings like, "these ones." Every single "one" can there be an "every" followed by a "one?" Deep thoughts.
Love reading your blog-diggity. I just wish you used some hip blog jargon more often.
Plus, Colbie is the best at putting my feelings into words. "'cause every time I see your bubbly face. I get the tingles in a silly place." I mean wow. She's good.

Heather Lee said...

Oh my gosh, I could talk to you all day long.
I wish we were in the same state. I'm going to start highlighting Indiana's strong points.
Thanks for your comment. I'm always a little self-conscious when I ramble like that. Feel free to copy and paste, but please oh please work your editing magic and turn it in to something comprehendible. I sometimes wish I weren't private, then I have encounters like the one last week and think...public no more. Plus I'm not witty enough to really be counted as a Mormon Mommy Blogger:) Although I do have a following in London. It may be a sole-16-year-old but I'm puffed up the same.

Margaret said...

The aftereffects of those who don't read are lyrics like feeling like plastic bags and spelling out words like bananas. People are just spending too much time at grocery stores instead of the library. That's the core of the issue.

Brenda said...

I LOVE to read and I LOVE books and I LOVE my new Kindle. I do have some mixed emotions about everything being on my Kindle now -one great plus - I'll never have to get rid of another book, but, I can't pass along a favorite book to family & friends to enjoy.

Charity said...

It's kind of shameful, that bullet-point culture of reading we're developing. I do it all the time when I'm reading on the internet - if something is not stated concisely and in list format I'm like, bah! moving on.

But then there are certain voices that still captivate and I'll read every word of their posts or articles. I think it has to do with the sheer volume of writing on the internet and the fact that the bulk of it is downright crappy. I get impatient with bad writers.

But you, however, are not wordy. Your blog does not have too many words. Here I am going through your posts backwards, as I've just discovered you had a blog, reading all your posts.

So, interesting thoughts.