Let me confess that every "great book" or author that I was to read earlier in life I’m not sure I had the capacity to understand. Even with the discussions and papers I had to write on them, and even if I didn’t fail to read them mostly because I was required to read them for exam sack. I am not trying to imply that one should not be forced to read books, because they should. But there is no way I could appreciate those books then like I can now.
During my linguistics degree, I started picking those books back up, and it’s been quite the experience. I started reading War and Peace (OMG, the book is in Russian language), and I did not recognize it at all. There was no way I could have understood it, and in fact my memories of the book in National University of Modern Languages
are just mental pictures of the book, like it was thick text, I didn’t understand a word.
I couldn’t stand reading a lot of the classics, and I skimmed a lot when it came to Tolstoy or books like Invisible Man. I just wasn’t ready for that sort of literature – or maybe I was, but just had too many other things I’d rather be reading that didn’t bore me half to death.
Readers here already know how I write and get published
. This post is how I read and ‘inhale’ information? I won’t tell you my speed, but it is still not fast enough. Lot of pruning and prioritizing helps me (not every article, chapter, post and comment thread is worth the time) and still the pile keeps rising. If I could read faster and comprehend (let alone enjoy) the words, I surely would.
If I can name a single author who helped me gain reading speed is James Hadley Chase. Like Imran Series by Ibne Safi (one of my favorite writer) in local context, James is one of the best known thriller writers of all time. I have the privilege to read some ninety books he wrote (50 of his books have been made into films). I liked his books and that set the pace of my reading.
Now a few things that I have learnt are to read in phrases (sentences and even paras) rather than word by word. When it comes to the online stuff, sometimes a 500 word blog post is really only 100 words, even less, of actual content, so I skim for concepts. For technical articles or writing that is more “thick,” I slow down. Article layout also affects my reading speed. Reading Breakthrough Rapid Reading by Peter Klump sure helps anyone improve reading speed.
It certainly is better to be able to read something rapidly, instead of spending what seems like forever struggling through the words but the best is to keep reading. My recommendation to you is read everything that is in print and speed will come.
Labels: Personal, Reading
posted by S A J Shirazi @ Wednesday, January 23, 2013,
Sajini Chandrasekera said...
I fully agree with you as reading helps one to write and also it will help to make your writing more professional and touching. It will also give you knowledge or will take you to new heights of writing with new ideas...
Good post but reading faces, lip and hearts is much easier than reading those thick and dry books.
Kausar Bilal said...
A very factual post depicting the real issues of a Pakistani reader when he comes to read books in English. I believe, your article can be a very strong foundation to build reading programs on it for 'Literary Clubs for Adults'.
I wish, I had another life as well; one for corporate blogging and second for the promotion of literature reading and writing.
Your answer is perfect that solution is only more n more reading that can develop comprehension and speed both.
So, I decided to let the sky fall down.
Saima Ashraf said...
Yes, reading is the soul of writing. What I've experienced is that syllabus books are a treasure indeed but in those days we take them as 'punishment' but later we understand. Gap between reaading and understanding takes long. At least in my case:)
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