Books, books, books … the pleasure of reading!! … “Susie Mesure, from ‘I want to savour every word’: the joy of reading slowly‘ (The Guardian, December 2, 2022). Bragging rights seem to go to people who devour books, but, as this impatient reader found, turning the pages over many days or even weeks can immerse one deeper in the writer’s world.”
There is something about churning through books that induces envy and even admiration, never more than at this time of year when piles of finished tomes are splashed across social media. Bragging rights seem to go to those who have read lots of books and read them quickly – how many times have you seen someone boast about finishing 10 books in a year? What about five?
But there is power in reading slowly, something the Chinese-American author Yiyun Li tells her creative writing students at Princeton University. “They say, ‘I can read 100 pages an hour’,” she says. “But I say, ‘I don’t want you to read 100 pages an hour. I want you to read three pages an hour’.”
That’s the speed Li is happy to read at, even if she is re-reading a familiar text. “People often say they devoured a book in one sitting. But I…
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