Thursday, November 03, 2005

Slow Readers, Unite!

Once upon time, in a galaxy far, far away...yadda yadda yadda...and they all lived happily ever after.

I'm a slow reader. Always have been. I even once checked out a book from the library about learning how to speed read, but I couldn't get through the whole thing before it was due back. As a guy who actually enjoys reading a good book, not to mention trying to write a good book, it is a problem.

There are, of course, the typical problems with getting through a book. Finding time, for one. It is so easy to plop down in front of the television and get an entire story visually fed to you in two hours. That same story, in book form, takes, oh, about twenty hours.

Back in college, I had a literature class that involved reading one book every week, including writing a paper. You know how many of those books I actually finished? One. (At least, I'm pretty sure I finished it.)

The side benefit to being a slow reader, however, is that I'm a pretty good judge as to what is a good book. Not that there aren't plenty of good books I don't read (or finish). But, if there is a book that I actually read and finish from cover to cover, typically others will like it as well. Granted, I have no real way to test this theory, aside from a small samplings of friends. In fact, what I'm saying might be totally arrogant on my part, and that I can't tell a classic from a catastrophe. But this is my blog, and I can say what I want!

Anyhow, I was recently saddened when I found out that of the top 100 books according to some Important Publication That Rates Things Like This, I had only read three. Three! How pathetic! For a fleeting moment, I thought I had read four, only to recall that I had read the script to the stage play version of the story, not the actual book upon which the stage play was based.

So, I want to change that. Uh. Not the stage play, nor the book upon which the play was based. I want to improve my score.

But I had a horrible revelation that in order to do that, I would have to actually read some of the books on that list. And I just don't have the time for that!

But I came up with a solution. Since I'm such a great judge of books (refer to paragraph 5), rather than trying to read from the list...all I have to do is convince the Important Publication That Rates Things Like This that their list is wrong. And then, I will simply tell them what books should be on their list. So, without having to read another word from another book, I might be able to up my score from three out of a hundred to, say, thirty out of a hundred.

And here are some of my suggested titles:
  • Encyclopedia Brown: Boy Detective...I mean, who doesn't love a good mystery. Right? And if they include the first book, perhaps they can include more of the books!
  • Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing...Judy Blume is a mainstay of American pop culture. How could one of her books not be on the list?
  • Dragonlance Chronicles...I was a little leery about including this one. After all, it is a trilogy. And a trilogy of three relatively long books. Not really ideal reading material for the slow readers of the country. But, I realized I really needed to up my average word count, so I decided to keep it!
  • Fox in Sox...Oh, you laugh. But, come on. Really. How can Dr. Seuss not be included? And on top of that, of all his books, this one is most definitely the most challenging. Have you ever read through the entire book out loud without making a mistake?
  • and the truly classic, Choose Your Own Adventure series...Honestly, I don't care which book from the series. Personally, I think as long as you read at least one book from the series, and you actually played out each and every possible ending, you deserve credit. Don't you?
I have plenty more titles to suggest, never you fear. But that's enough of a sampling to illustrate, don't you think?

Slow readers, unite!

4 comments:

Keith Cronin said...

My daughter worked with some speed-reading training software to help speed up her reading, and found that it really helped - you might want to check that out.

Kerri. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kerri. said...

I tried to comment before but mistakenly deleted my own comment.

What I was trying to say is this: I also read -- and re-read -- the Dragonlance Chronicles. BOTH trilogies. Six enormous books. Loved them. Loved them more than I care to admit.

Also add "The Princess Bride" (William Goldman edition). Brilliant read, fast or slow.

RyanBruner said...

Keith:

I had no idea they had software for that! It makes sense, though. I suppose it would be similar to software that teaches you to type. Practice, practice, practice.


Kerri:

Yeah...I love Chronicles as well as Legends (about the twins). But, I went to re-read them recently, and was no longer as taken with them as I originally was. But, the third book in the Chronicles trilogy I read in 1 1/2 days...which is a record for me. I literally couldn't put the book down, and never even got out of my pajamas until I finished.

But I was in Jr. High then.