The Need to Read v. The Need for Speed

AugustNewsflash for all our regulars. Book and Kitchen will be closed from tomorrow Friday 22 August to Friday 29 August for Carnival and its aftermath. We love Carnival as an expression of community spirit demonstrated perfectly by our front window book of the moment (see photo). However, books are not built for dancing in the streets so we are going to take a semi-enforced reading holiday because despite being surrounded by books, we get less opportunity to read than appearances suggest.carnival

Most of us know when to eat. At a basic level it’s a necessity of life. There are also the traditional meal times which help divide up our days. In case we’re still unsure, there are certain things that give us the urge – a rumbling stomach, the whiff of garlic cooking at Book and Kitchen or reading a mouth watering recipe.

Knowing when to read can be less obvious. In modern life, the space in our heads that is reserved for absorbing books has now become inundated by a flood of information (thanks goes out to the mighty Age of Technology). Short snappy sound bytes of info from emails and social media can sometimes feel like bursts of machine gun fire to our brain. Skim reading has become the norm. Speed is of the essence, speed makes us successful, speed…is (yawn) exhausting.

So let’s breathe, take some time out and reflect on reading.

Email-Overwhelm1The fact is our brains need to read (properly). Research is starting to show that well, while our ability to skim read is at an all time high, the reality is we’re in danger of getting more stupid.  Faced with a deluge of screens and distractions, our ability to concentrate is getting shorter and shorte and short… I would like to take this moment to give a virtual high five to anyone still reading this blog.  

In the face of an accelerated modern lifestyle, what are our options?

Option 1: Adapt

Read faster. The average reading speed of an adult is 300 wpm and that doesn’t factor in the distracting beeps from mobiles, computers, washing machines, babies.  With apps in the pipeline like Spritz, which claim to be able to up your speed to 1000 wpm, you could read War and Peace in a day (but really what’s the fun in that?).  

Read shorter. Authors have got in on the act. Check out these collection of 140 character long novels on twitter. Truly gripping. Or indulge in some TwiHaiku if you need a fix of poetry.

Option 2: Resist

Make appointments with reading. The concept of going to a restaurant for two hours to eat a meal is a complete pleasure. So how about blocking out Thursday lunch time for a 2 hour date with your current book interest?

Read anywhere. According to one researcher, out of a survey of 499, more than half of men (64%) and 41% of the women confessed to being regular toilet readers.  We’re not sure about that, but other popular reading venues include beds, sofas, gardens & parks, buses, tubes, beaches, jungles and coffee shops.  And the great thing is you don’t need to make a reservation. 

Read slow. There’s a lot to be said for letting each sentence sink in like a morsel of tasty food.   Savour the book and you’ll come away with that sense of having spent a few hours in a different world.  The added bonus is you might just remember something about it a month later.

and finally, read with imagination.

See you on the 30th to compare notes.