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Slowing Down

I’ve read a lot of books the past few years. As my Goodreads account will attest, I’ve averaged a book every 5 – 6 days for the past four years, and to date in 2011 I’m still on that pace. The book pile next to my bed waxes and wanes with library visits and Amazon shipments. I’ve always been a quick reader. This can be a beneficial thing at times, but it also means that sometimes I’m still picking up detail on my second and third times through a book. I’m coming to the conclusion now, though, that I need to slow down.

I’ve read a number of books over the last few years that have, at the time, stuck out to me as being particularly insightful and helpful to me thinking. (Wright’s Surprised by Hope, Capon’s Between Noon and Three, and McHugh’s Introverts in the Church quickly come to mind in this category.) But with the exception of Surprised by Hope (which I read through multiple times, underlined extensively, and attempted to blog), the other books I read quickly, went “wow, that’s good stuff”, and then put them down.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to me, but it holds more impact when written down in black and white: the value I get from reading the book is in direct proportion to the amount of time I’m willing to devote to digging in to it.

So, I want to slow down. I want to cut down on the number of frivolous novels I read, and focus in on the valuable stuff. I want to take books a chapter or two at a time, chew on the thoughts, and fill up a Moleskine making notes on them afterwards. I want to use this blog as a place to wrestle with and promote the good stuff I find in those books. I want this exercise to sharpen my thinking, hone my writing, and draw me closer to Christ. By His grace may it be so.

I’ll keep you posted on what I’m doing.

2 Comments

  1. I find that I remember a book based on how much I want to re-read it. Velvet Elvis (please excuse my emergent leaning) did this, as did Surprise By Hope, as did The Great Divorce, as did The Black Swan, etc. (As a youngster I read the good version of Swiss Family Robinson about 30 times. I still read it from time to time; what a fantastic story.)

    I can’t slow down to read a book. It’s not in me. If I’m particularly struck, I just read it again. And sometimes again.

    Also “insightful and helpful to me thinking” makes you sound a little like a pirate! Which I think works for you 🙂

  2. I guess we’ll see how it goes. There’s always the potential for re-reads, but for things where I really want to have a command of the topic, I need to write stuff down. Forcing my brain to work through an outline, to actually write down the framework of the thought process… that’s where I go from going “hey, cool”, to having something that actually soaks in.

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