Because Why Not?
A Strong Advocate

Start Your Engines

I'm up north . . . where "starting my engine" still happens.  Just at a more relaxed pace!

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A Quote

“I thought of myself as like the jazz musician — someone who practices and practices and practices in order to be able to invent and to make his art look effortless and graceful. I was always conscious of the constructed aspect of the writing process, and that art appears natural and elegant only as a result of constant practice and awareness of its formal structures. You must practice thrift in order to achieve that luxurious quality of wastefulness — that sense that you have enough to waste, that you are holding back — without actually wasting anything.”
--- Toni Morrison, The Art of Fiction, in The Paris Review, 1993

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A Word (or two)

I heard both of these words in the news this week.  I think it's important that we understand the distinction.

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Vs.

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What do you think?  
Does an angry rant qualify as a manifesto?

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It seems that there is such a push "out there" (in the world) to Read More and Read Faster.  As if . . . any of us could ever read ALL the books we want to read.  As if . . . reading more books would make us "happier" (yeah, I'm looking at you, Gretchen Rubin).  Last year, I made a decision to slow down my reading pace -- and to read more deeply and more thoughtfully.  For me, it's been all about the books themselves, not how many of them I can get through.  And that has made such a wonderful difference in my reading experience!  I'm enjoying reading at a more leisurely pace, I'm taking notes and saving quotes and favorite passages, I'm writing brief reviews, I'm thinking more critically about why I like certain books -- and why I don't.  

Anyway, if you're interested in reading more deeply, here are a few suggestions from David Mikics (who wrote the book on "slow reading"):

  1. Notice when you start to skip or skim sections.  Go back and try to read them again.
  2. Keep a dictionary nearby so you can look up unfamiliar words as you encounter them.
  3. Actively re-read passages that seem confusing.
  4. Use a highlighter or sticky-notes to mark passages that intrigue you, or when you are particularly taken with the author's language or turns of phrase.  Go back and review the passages after you've finished reading; maybe even "collect" them in your notes.
  5. Summarize or write a review when you're finished with your reading.

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A Challenge

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Summer is winding down.  
Get out there!  
Bask in it!

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Here's to a good week ahead for all of us!

Comments

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Bonny

That is quite a pithy quote from Toni Morrison! I'm not even sure I fully understand it, but will be thinking about it along with the many and varied meanings of screed. Just a couple of examples of why reading fast and skimming is not for me! I'm definitely taking more notes, reading more deeply, and thinking more about what I read.

Vera

That quote! Like Bonny, I want to think about that for a bit. And Screed - not sure I had heard that word before. Interesting. My reading has slowed (again), but I am enjoying what I read (and no longer feel the pressure to finish EVERY book I start - thank God that idea went out of my head a number of years ago). So much lends itself to slow reading anyway (poetry for example or essays). I do save quotes, but I don't think I'll write reviews - that just seems like work (or school) to me - lol.

Carole

Gretchen Rubin is definitely a proponent of reading faster and skimming - which I don't agree with at all. I mean, I do skim if I'm reading something I'm not enjoying 100% but I still want to know what happens - but if you're skimming a lot then maybe it's not the book you should be reading! Dale just started keeping a journal of quotes and thoughts on books he has read and he really enjoy sharing it with me which is a great way for us to connect and share thoughts. I highlight passages a lot on the kindle and I use it to look up words, too, and of course I always write a review on Good Reads.

Kat

Toni Morrison's passing is such a loss - for all of us. Her way with words, how she pulls you into a story, how she tells a story... she was truly a master at her art!

I agree... an angry rant does not a manifesto make.

Here is to savoring every last bit of these glorious summer days!

Dee

I think I am becoming a fan of "slow-everything" ----- read for enjoyment (not to tally up points), knit with intention and attention (i.e. enjoy the process, not just the product) and definitely slow eating --- savor those things instead of just gulping down a bunch of tummy fillers.

Debbie

I think this is the first time I've heard the word screed and it is not a manifesto!
When I read, I write down quotes or highlight passages, skimming is usually a sign that I'm losing interest, and I don't always write reviews. I think it is easier to write reviews on books that I feel strongly about-both positive & negative. I struggle writing a reviews on books I rate with 3 stars, books that were good entertainment, but not great and not awful.
Enjoy these late summer days...school starts here on Wednesday and the university classes begin next Monday!

kim in oregon

OH I have OPINIONS! A colleague went through a stage when she had all of our students write 'manifestos' about who they were and why they were in our (strategic communication) program. It ended up with ALL THE STUDENTS trying to drop as many 'f bombs' as they could in their work because they thought it was appropriate for a manifesto.

I will stop my SCREED on manifestos now!

Sarah

I'm a relatively fast reader but usually savor books I'm really enjoying. The only need I feel for speed is that I worry that I'll run out of life before I read all the books I want to!

margene

Reading Toni Morrison takes practice (lots of practice) and patience if you are to understand what she has written. She intends her writing to be studied and carefully read, as she herself has said when she was on Oprah discussing one of her books (Paradise, I believe). Her books are meant to be read and reread (and reread). She was truly the greatest American novelist. (Does that fit the definition of screed?) Once again you taught me something I didn't know. I thought screed was a negative thing. The New York Times has a series on how to Be a Better Reader in 7 Days. They bring up these same points (almost word for word). I've enjoyed reading it. I read more slowly now than in the past, but I still don't like to write reviews.

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