I take a lively interest in how often people boast to me – from the other side of the reference desk – about how quickly they read. “I’ll read this by tomorrow,” they say or “I’ll have this back way before the due date.” Everyone has their own standard, but by some mysterious code, they agree that they get extra points for speed.
It strikes me as a strange value when it comes to reading. I don’t really care if you’ve turned the pages quickly. Here’s what I want to ask, “Did you read it well?”
Did you let yourself be drawn into their world so deeply that your own became hazy for a moment? Did you engage with the characters so thoroughly that you miss them now? Did allow your imagination to weave together the descriptions of place and people and action so that the words created in your mind scenes more vivid, more dimensional, more stunning that any movie? Did you stop to wonder at the author’s unique turn of phrase or witty observation? Did you discover a new idea? Did you stop to appreciate interesting details? Did you peer at the world through a different prism and in that moment, open yourself to a new way of thinking?
That impresses me. Tell me about that!
Sharing stories is not a contest or a race. Relax and savor the journey.