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Speed Reading

Discussion in 'General Book Discussion' started by Danny_Smith, Sep 11, 2016.

  1. Danny_Smith

    Danny_Smith New Member

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    I think speed reading is disrespectful to an author who you are supposedly interested enough in reading, but you are not willing to take the time to really comprehend what feelings and thoughts the author wants you to experience. Every word that is written by an author, especially a good writer, is there for a purpose.

    This morning I read an interview with Robert A. Caro in the Paris Review. Caro puts a lot of effort into his books. He does much research using different sources, and Caro does much rewriting even with his outline. Caro will drive himself crazy until he is satisfied with an outline. He has been writing about President Lyndon Johnson for awhile. When he researched Johnson, Caro realized that certwin events and experiences of Johnson's were prominent enough to convey to different readers. For example how desperate Johnson felt and acted when he fell behind in a political race. Johnson provided an area with electricity for the first time. The people were very grateful. Caro realized the importance of each detail and wanted the future audience of his biography to know about these facts, and he took time to think about how he was going to write it.

    I do not think a speed reader is going to fully comprehend the effort that an author puts into a book. I actually took a speed reading course once. You skip many so called unnecessary words. You learn to retain the factual comprehension of a book, but you are missing something essential experiencing a book on different levels. Just facts do not reveal an author's intentions. There is nothing to think or feel. How can such a reading develop you emotionally or intellectually.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2016
  2. regdog

    regdog Moderator Staff Member

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    I hadn't thought of speed reading in the context of being disrespectful to the writer, but I absolutely see your point. I've always thought of it as a waste of the reader's time, since they are denying themselves being enveloped in the world they are reading about.
     
  3. Julianne Kelsch

    Julianne Kelsch New Member

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    I see the value in speed reading, but not when reading a novel. The purpose of fiction is to envelop yourself in a different world. Speed reading doesn't allow for that. If I find the novel boring, however, I will speed read through it. So there's that side of things
     
  4. ErikDentremont

    ErikDentremont New Member

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    Unfortunately, speed reading is just something I do without even trying. In fact, it takes a huge effort to make myself slow down. I frequently speed read through my first reading of a book, then force myself to take it down a few notches the second time I read it, but in doing so, I can't get as into the story as I do when I do not try to slow down. I don't get the odd mental movie that plays along as I read when I try to slow down, likely because I am sinking so much energy into holding myself back.
    I find the fact that I speed read unintentionally somewhat of a barrier. I often want to spend more time in a particularly well-crafted written world, but this annoying habit of mine ends up pulling me out of it far too quickly, leaving me feeling dissatisfied and even a little bereft.
     
  5. SFG75

    SFG75 Well-Known Member

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    Caro's books on LBJ are amazing, no doubt about that. I like the in-depth writing style that he possessed and I appreciate the laying of the groundwork to make you feel like you are in the meeting itself. I could see skimming chapters or pages of a book you don't find interesting and I think everyone does that to a certain degree. I agree though, trying to set a front to back reading speed record is reading for the wrong intent in mind.
     
  6. Peder

    Peder Well-Known Member

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    I think the book itself determines my reading speed.
    Some novels (think Faulkner and Banville) attract my close attention, and get it.
    Other novels deserve the fate of speed reading, and get it.
    Even other books I will abandon part-way through, without regret; there are always other books waiting in line.

    I read for pleasure, and follow my taste.
     
  7. Alberto Pupo

    Alberto Pupo New Member

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    Personally I read very fast in general. However, speed reading technique is best used when you are working on academic research and are trying to synthesize a lot of information for a deadline. So unless the novel I am reading is going to require some sort of academic analysis within a certain time frame, I will read a little slower.
     

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