Reading pace and how I think about the quantity of what I read.
Reading pace is highly individualized, and each book may deserve a different pace. I can read some books in a single night, and some take me years.
Right now, I’m reading Michael W. Twitty’s The Cooking Gene,(1) which explores the historical and current foodways that led to African-American/Southern cuisine. The book isn’t a light read as Twitty traces Southern food back to the realities of chattel slavery and uses his family history as a guiding light. The chapters are dense. Some of the chapters depict the worst horrors humans inflicted on other humans.
I find myself reading it slowly. I find myself pausing. I find myself rereading passages. When Twitty lists out ethnic groups, ancestors’ names, geographic places (present or historical), or foods, and I find myself glazing over, I stop and go back. Because the people who were enslaved deserve that respect, unlike the fictional kings of Westeros, whose fictional names and places I will skim or skip.(2)
Again, The Cooking Gene is a good book. It’s just not an “easy” read for me. Nor should it be, and it’s okay that I’m not reading it at my “usual” pace.
The start of rethinking my reading
As an English major in college, my ability to knuckle down and get through a book came in handy. I always read the assigned readings in college.(3) My reading was seasoned in the fire of reading Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary and James Joyce’s Ulysses (and the book explaining Ulysses) for two different literature courses in the same semester.
But in my free time, I found myself unable to read books. Continue reading “How Do You Read So Much?”