A couple of weeks ago I glanced through a write-up and interview in the local newspaper about a professional story teller who was visiting India from England to give a performance and to speak about story telling, reading and books in general.
Besides being quite excited that the art of story telling was being highlighted and promoted as an actual profession, I was struck by what the artist had to say about reading extensively vs. reading intensively.
He said that most people look to read extensively these days – to read as many books as they can in as short a time as possible. (I suppose audio books aid this phenomenon as well)
He said people seem to have forgotten the beauty that lies in reading intensively – taking it slow with a book, really getting absorbed with what the book, its setting and characters are all about; allowing a book to take you somewhere else or to be immersed in someone else’s way of thinking.
I hadn’t even thought about these two contrasting ways to read and I’m glad that I chanced upon this write-up. It made me realise that I want to make it a point to read intensively. I think I do anyway, for most books, but I want to make it a point to. Of course like many people who love to read, I do have those moments when I want to get through a book quickly just so I can begin another, for I am sure I will never have enough time during one lifetime to read all the books I want to!
But really, what IS the point of reading only extensively and not intensively? Why read if we don’t REALLY absorb what the book is trying to offer? Or is reading extensively just another feature of the crazy, demanding, fast-paced lives we lead today, where it is so hard to just slow down. With all the things we have to remember to do in a day, just remembering to slow down can be difficult!
I am currently reading How Green Was My Valley, am doing so “intensively” and am enjoying every slow minute of it.
When I visualise “reading intensively”, I picture an IV drip whose contents are a book that slowly, drop by drop, begin to enter your system. A bit dramatic I know (not to mention bordering on being morbid!) but that’s just what popped into my mind right now.
So, what do you prefer – reading extensively or reading intensively and why? I’d love to hear some opinions on the topic.
(In response to today’s Daily Prompt: Contrast )