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 goodreads.com 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!