Remember that old Woody Allen joke? “I took a speed reading course. We read War and Peace. It’s about Russia.”
Sounds horribly familiar, doesn’t it? These days we skim through thousands of words a day at high speed. But how much of that ‘reading’ do we actually take in? Or enjoy?
The bottom line is that faster isn’t always better. You don’t gulp down a glass of fine wine. You don’t put Mozart on fast-forward. Sure, there are times when whizzing through a piece of text is the only option. Or maybe even the best option: I certainly don’t linger over the prose in the free newspaper on the Tube. But surely Tolstoy deserves a bit more of our attention.
That’s why the Slow Reading Movement is gaining ground.