Thursday, 25 October 2012

Speed Reading

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Small son has two study days off from his new job and writes his exam tomorrow. Amazingly, (or perhaps not so) he has been up at dawn to revise his whole year's work.  He has certainly had to change his life-style over the last month, working sometimes 12-14 hour days. Definitely, a wake-up call.  He's not a bad lad, really and one thing he is really good at is being an uncle, great baby-sitter, can even change the most awful of  diapers. However, it's time he earned a living.  I am wondering, somewhat belatedly, if we shouldn't have sent him on a speed-reading course when he was at High School, as he's always been such a reluctant student.  At Book Club last week, the subject came up as some of us struggle to get through one book a month, and other ladies can manage up to ten. It wasn't just a question of available time to read. Some people are happy to skim their way through novels, just wanting the bones of the story, some of us can't bear a book that ends too quickly and want to savor every (well-written) word. Life seems to be too short to get through all the marvelous books out there, but maybe one should just give up on the mediocre ones after fifty pages or so. One lady, a teacher herself, said she had sent both her daughters on quite expensive Speed Reading courses when they were 13, at the time when they were the 'latest thing'.  She reports that it was the best thing she could ever have done for them, as they reaped the benefits both at school and college, managing to devour and remember large quantities of demanding textbooks.  Perhaps I should try one myself?  Surely it's never too late.  Not because I really want to speed read anything other than a newspaper these days although I've taught myself enough to do that ...."Corruption...corruption....corruption" on every page.  No, it's because it would be a new skill to acquire, which I have read can help to ward off Altzheimer's.  The author, PD James, was interviewed on BBC radio yesterday.  She is now 92, and still writes her detective novels with undiminished skill.  She admitted that she has worked hard all her life and has had careers in Hospital Administration, has worked as a Magistrate, is a life peer (Baroness) in the House of Lords, looked after her mentally-ill husband for many years - and did much of that when she was already a successful crime writer.  Some people are great role models. I can't skim through her books though. They are too good.


  1. I enjoy reading and I read a lot, but I am quite slow, Also I often will read a book a second time after I finish it. I will never get through my lifetime reading list.

  2. I have a sweat shirt that states "So many books...So little time." This sweat shirt has one very unique property. When wearing it, I get knowing looks and smiles from women. I am one of those people who go through life that no one ever notices so it is a nice sweat shirt. Knowing looks and smiles aside, one should not waste a moment on a crappy book.

    I tried to take a speed reading course in college. After 3 weeks the only thing I learned was that the instructor was a bullshitter and I was wasting my time. I read abysmally slow.

    I have read that puzzles and mental activity are being questioned as preventatives against Alzheimer's. Physical fitness and good sleeping habits seem to have more benefit. I wonder does good sleeping habits reduce Alzheimer's, or do people without Alzheimer's sleep better. The same may apply for the propensity to do puzzles. It is a poorly understood disease.

  3. Doing puzzles is a 'poorly understood disease'? I have to agree. (Giggle).