more than one voice

Friday, June 10, 2011

slow reading

i hate to miss out on stuff - she said with a sigh - it makes me feel silly not to know everything

I love reading, I have bookcases filled with books, my bedside table has a tower of books sitting on it, so many books waiting for me to read. The problem is that lately I haven’t been reading as much as I used to read.  One of the reasons is that I sit at my computer too much, and because of the nature of how we scan and read information on the computer it has had a negative effect on my reading.

While surfing the internet – I came across an article entitled ‘slow reading’.  Slow reading is similar to the slow cooking movement, a movement that encourages people to slow down and take time preparing and enjoying food. The idea is that people should turn-off their computers and engage with the physical text as they intentional reduce their reading speed, taking time to contemplate, to savor the words and the text.  The reader, through slow and purposeful reflective reading uncovers the author’s creativity and through this process enriches their own creativity and thoughts, often finding new perspectives and insights.

I know from personal experience that some of my most profound insights have come from reading books.  I recently read Thomas Moore’s – Soul's Religion, a book that I knew from the first chapter was going to sit with me for a long time after finishing it. I read this book in a slow contemplative manner.  I sat with a small note book taking notes, and have referred back to the notes many times since.

I guess for me the challenge is one of sustained concentration, finding my way back to books, taking time to slow down, giving my attention to one thing at a time.  It’s not easy when you have the allure of so much information packaged in small bit sized chunks, it’s too easy to scan, to skim for facts, to swallow whole without chewing, and that’s not good for the digestion is it?

I will fly to the sun

you say he flew too high
he flew just far enough
he flew precisely to the point of
 (art dress inspired by the Soul's Religion - Thomas Moore)


  1. I,m sure it's right to slow down. Although it's nearly a year since I left my job to be a full time "homer" I still can't relax properly. Just have to do......
    I really like your artwork and tried a trillion times to comment your art doll but it was impossible. Now I've changed to firefox and my hope is to be able to give comments when I feel like.

  2. So true! I was just looking at some of my favorite books and thinking that I haven't read much lately. It seems when I paint the reading goes and when I read the paint goes. Which to choose? I know when I am reading, I'm a voracious reader and can't put them down.

  3. Food for thought post!

    I've just started reading The Power of LESS - The 6 Essential Productivity Principles That Will Change Your Life. Even the Introduction made alot of sense - "THERE HAS NEVER BEFORE been an age in which we could get so much done quickly. There also has never before been an age in which we were so overlwhemed with information and tasks, so overloaded with emails and things to read and watch, so stressed by the incredible demands of our lives".

    The author goes onto say that basically he decided to simplify his life and focus his energy and attention to one goal at a time.

    I think you have arrived at that point with your slow reading - giving your attention to one thing. Good Idea! - Happy Reading!

    Love the dress x

  4. Slow Reading. Wonderful idea. I've always loved those books that seem to require something from me - deeper concentration reaps deeper rewards, I guess.

  5. It is a hard balance, isn't it?!

    We aregoing on a camping vacation soon, and I'm really looking forward to finishing a paperback or 2...being forceably removed from technology...and having fewer distractions from life at that moment :)

    Thank you for the reminder!

  6. I am a fan of books, and used to read religiously! You are so right, reading is becoming a lost art. I myself have been guilty of skimming and have noticed my attention span shortening. I really see it in the younger generation too, Everything has to be NOW.
    Recently I have re activated my library card and have gotten back into the groove of reading. I am up to 1-2 books a week, and dedicate at least an 45 minutes to an hour of reading before going to sleep. I love it.

    Thanks for the great post and love your painting!

    I will have to look up your book you are reading, sounds very interesting. Currently I am reading "The Art of Happiness" by the Dali Lama. It is so full of great quotes!

  7. There is always a book in my life, at any given time - but I choose carefully! :-)
    Your post is very thoughtful Clare!

  8. Thank you so much for the drum roll, I could hear them go as I was ready your message and it gave me a heart chuckle.
    Wow, he flew to precise moment of wisdom, this is deep. Is there such a place?
    Books are certainly very personal and give you an adventure all your own. My hubby reads books more than I do. He reads less now he's with me and is a little more forgeful, I think I'm slowing his brain down,lol!
    Huge hug!

  9. Oh, I forgot to mention your lady is beautiful!
    Lady is red!

  10. I'm a book lover too with a constant tower of books on hand. I do like to take my time with books, and I like the multi-sensory aspect of holding/touch/using a book as opposed to a reading device.

  11. excellent topic.

    i've leart to accept that i'm a scanner - i adore bits of information and variety and am interested an an infinite number of things. this is who i am.
    however, i've also learnt to bring in balance. to skim and scan and just dip my toes, but to indulge in the things i love that require focus or time, like reading.
    i had stopped reading as much as i like because of the 'net. now i fit both in. they feed different parts of my soul, you know?

  12. I currently have 35 books on my nightstand~~most in some partial state of being read.
    I have, however, found that the ones that are excellent writing I can digest bit by bit, wander away, and then return and pick up where I left off.
    Others are like a marshmallow~~fluff. I scan the pages. So many words, so little meaning. Maybe I am critical.
    My days end with the printed word.
    it is such a good way to drift off to dream land, with the last scent being that of a book and the words still dancing in my mind....


  13. I think you have a great point there. I've even read articles about how having too much information available makes us scan things too quickly and actually produces an effect in the brain somewhat like ADD. Here's an article- kind of tongue-in-cheek- that's pretty funny:,16932/

  14. I got chills reading your post. With today's pace, I do lots of book reading on audio. However, I am revisiting Joseph Campbell which needs to be read visually so I purchased his book. It was wonderful holding it in my hands.

    Physical books are becoming a minority choice. I think a lot of people are missing out on the beauty of the physical structure. I would not like to think of a shelf devoid of books in a home with children. Hence, times are definitely changing.
    Thanks for sharing...

  15. love those words clare... where did you find that poem/those words under the pic?

  16. Thank-you for sharing this delightfully engaging post. What a beautiful concept...this slow reading... I am totally intrigued. Thank-you for sharing this.

    I also wanted to thank-you for your continued support and kind words on my blog. They have not gone unnoticed. I have a feeling that you and I could sit for long periods of time together sipping tea.

    Continue sharing the beautiful layers of your heart and soul dear Clare. They are unfolding so beautifully form where I sit.

    Danielle xox

  17. You know, I couldn't agree with you more, Clare. There's something very therapeutic about reading a book in its real form. Somehow it becomes a gate to whatever world your heart desires. Thanks for posting this, it's a great read. :)

    PS: and the angel looks lovely...


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