Books

Diary of a Helplessly Slow Reader

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I identify myself as a bibliophile. My family cannot comprehend my love for books. My love for them translates into a strong desire to possess them, to hold them, smell them – all of which they think odd.

My feet slacken their pace of their own accord when my eyes spot books anywhere – on the pavement, on newsstands, on the billboard as an advert. I am compelled to stop, look, browse. I am lost to the world. It is only when I am dragged by a pair of hands that seem to come out of nowhere that I come to, and am able to remember who the pair of hands that drag me belonged to.

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I love books. But I am accursed in this regard. My hunger and jealous possessive for books does not translate well in my actual devouring of them. For I am a helplessly, irrevocably a slow reader.

I take long, oh so long, to read an ordinary 200 pager. A 500 pager may well take me a month (or likely, more) to finish. I am both embarrassed and frustrated, but I don’t know what to do about it. I cannot will my eyes to traverse the page rapidly, and expect my comprehension of what I read to follow suit as well. I comprehend meaning slowly.

But I want to also be able to say that I am savouring the book. I don’t want to eat a book, so painstakingly created by the author, whole, and not even pause for a burp before I pick up another one. I want to be able to take in the book at an evenly pace, rapid enough, but not stumbling over word after word in a bid to race to the finish line.

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