On Reading

Quite recently I’ve been accused of being a slow reader.

This took me by surprise, but when I thought about it long enough, it found itself to be true. I have become a slow reader. Oncet I would devour stories like wildfire… I still do this, but in a different fashion. I devour each story like one reads poetry. Word by word, with careful attention to texture and composition of sounds and wortshapes. I find myself sounding out the syllables, chaining together phonemes (whatever limited grasp I have of this) and meaning, exploring the structure of artistry. Heavy and awesome writers, my favorite kind, put a lot of thought in what they slather onto their pages. The language serves a purpose, each sequence designed to target an emotion or trigger a thought. So I crawl through the morass of their words and disentangle meaning from it.

I find burroughs fantastic for reading like poetry. You can chant his words, and they come out with an incandescent quality. The Cities of the Red Night is my most favorite book of his. Cordwainer Smith and his Instrumentality of Mankind. Alfred Bester, my god, in his The Stars My Destination. Joyce, especially Joyce. Always Joyce. And a million others, even the sweet and unfilling cotton candy puff of mainstream novels.

I’ve become a slow reader.

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2 responses to “On Reading

  1. i loved reading this. i read it several times. many times when i read, i’m reading just for the story, but what I loved about english classes was the way you dissect the language. all the meaning behind the words we choose.

  2. As a person of what I would consider above-average intelligence, I have long been troubled by the slow speed at which I read.

    I feel better now. I believe you’ve hit the nail on the head. I read everything like I read poetry. (SUCH A REVELATION!) I feel cheated if I miss some literary device or metaphor or trick of language.

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