Savouring Words: The Art of Reading vs. Relishing a Book
By – Prof (Dr) Shalini Verma ‘Lifoholic’
Renowned British writer, C.S. Lewis says, “We read to know we are not alone.” This 8-word brief line eloquently captures the profound sense of connection and understanding that reading books can provide, reminding us that through books, we can find shared experiences, emotions, and insights into the human condition.
Lately, an image accompanying ‘to-be-evaluated’ writing assignment submitted by one of my MBA students caught my attention. The caption of the image read:
“Speed reading is for fools. Read less, read wise”.
The caption was intriguing enough to further dive deep into the rationale behind these words.
We know that reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body, but relishing a book is like a slow walk through a garden, absorbing every scent and hue.
Volume is easy. Speed is easy. Speed reading is assessed in words, but a good book is distinguished by how deeply you are influenced by its ideas. It’s the integrity and quality of a book, that’s hard.
Some might say, “I read a minimum of 1000 books a year.” Who on Earth cares? It’s believing that book-reading is a challenge and as if your speed will be rewarded.
If you are accomplishing it that fast it is an exercise far different than what a book lover would do while reading a likable piece. Books aren’t just medals to hang on your wall or to caress your ego with.
In reading, we catch the essence of countless lives and stories; in relishing, we let them simmer in our souls, enriching us long after the last page is turned. Promising words delivers us the opportunity to hang back and reflect. It’s nice to read a good novel, publication, fiction, or anything slowly.
Take a moment to evaluate the new ideas you’re welcoming. If you’re reading to discover, you would want to read thoughtfully.
If you are flipping through pages of a good book, you will be immersed and have little to zero concern about how long it’s taking to know it all.
“The volume is 500 pages? Forget it, I don’t have time.” That’s foolish. You’d instead read five 100-page books just to justify Speed Reading.
Would you reject a 7-course meal at your loved restaurant in exchange for a fast, 3 course one? It’s quality, not quantity that matters.
It is interesting to share here what different studies say on this ‘quantity versus quality’ phenomenon:
- Reading a book takes a lot of time
- The average book has about 90,000 words
- An average adult reading speed is 200 words per minute, which means it could take approx. 7.5 hours to read (read relish) a book, though skilled readers might do so a bit faster (I am still learning this book reading skill )
Finally, for any person like me who is ‘still upskilling book reading’, this works out to 90 hours per year or 1.7 hours per week.
Hence, the daily equivalent is ONLY 15 minutes per day.
So next time, don’t feel guilty when you see someone claiming to be ‘bookworm’ just by stacking his/her living room/office with a bookshelf neatly decked with rows of colourfully jacketed think, thin, long and short book (an unsaid validation of his/her being ‘highly intellectual) …just say you RELISH books!
About the Author: Prof (Dr) Shalini Verma ‘Lifoholic’ is the Founder of SAMVAW Foundation and an Award-winning Author with 75 published books, including several bestsellers, to her credit. She may be reached at: [email protected]
Follow her of LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/drshaliniverma/