Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Reading like a writer.

I don't read books like a normal person.
I fly through them, consuming them as fast as possible,
so eager to get to the next detail, the next scene, the next chapter.
This is partially because I'm impatient and partially
because I just love stories. I don't want to take a break until I've read it all.
For my MFA program, we're required to do a lot of reading
(because all good writers are great readers).
Not only are we required to read, but we're really meant to focus
on how each novel is crafted, not just the story that is the end result,
which is something pretty new and pretty eye-opening for a fast reader like me.
I've been forced to really slow down and savor each word;
to stop and think about the author's intent and the result of each of his or her choices.
It's amazing how a sentence built from simple little words-
words that don't do so much when they're standing on their own-
can be strung together to evoke precise feelings in a reader.
It's crazy how punctuation can speed you up
or slow you down
or make you focus on one word instead of another. 
Language is a magical thing.


  1. I'm the exact same way! I read very impatiently, and sometimes skip over little details to get to the next big part. I need to slow down and savor the words a little more when I read, definitely. :)

  2. I get what you mean, and am the same way. I get so impatient that I need to re-read the book and after that I don't get the same enjoyment because I already know whats gonna happen next. I really need to slow down and take my time.

  3. As a follow Creative Writing MFA student, I know EXACTLY what you mean!! It's crazy and beautiful how words make a story that takes you out of reality and into a whole new world! I love it!

  4. I'm a fast reader too, and I'm always reminded to slow down when I take lit classes. I tend to focus on the story when I read, and not really the style of the writer or the other small details. Whenever I would close read a passage, I'd realize that there are SO many details that I'd skip over because I read the book too fast. Sometimes it's nice to slow down and pay attention to the minute details!

  5. I do the same thing! I can read and reread the same books and swear its a different story, or find so many new things!! I need to follow in your footsteps!

  6. I love reading! I go through book (harry potter) at a ridiculous speed but I catch onto every single word. I would love to write a book someday, I just need to find the inspiration to do it.

  7. Me too! I'm always flying through books! I love to read though and I love to re-read so even if I go through too quickly, I like to reread the book a second time.

    I also love my kindle but the worst thing about reading so fast is sometimes I forget which character is related to whom or whatever and I want to flip back to figure it out but I can't 'flip' so easily with the kindle!

  8. I would always speed through books when I would read them for myself in my own time.. but being an English Lit major has really taught (or I should say trained) me to slow down and notice/ponder certain things that I normally wouldn't have. It's a good thing!

  9. I am currently reading “The Paris Wife.” Hemmingway’s wife, Hadley, says “I am a good encourager but I am not a critic. I cannot tell him why his books are important to society.” She basically summed me up in that phrase.

    Language sure is magical. So much can be said or left unsaid with just one word or period.

  10. love this! i read the same way and i was an english major in college and had the same experience!

    plusss i read your story and i'm an event planner/blogger with an engineer husband and a puggle. and your newest follower :)

  11. Love this post. And I agree; its very refreshing to read books with that new purpose in mind. Every word means so much more.


  12. I need to learn to slow down and appreciate the literature. I too, devour books SO quickly!

  13. I have to force myself to SLOW DOWN every single time I read for pleasure. In law school, I picked up a (necessary) habit of skimming everything I read. Case law is ridiculously lengthy and burdensome reading, so I was just scanning for key words, rulings, holdings, and the like. I catch myself doing that with novels now!!! Must. stop. There is beauty in the "fluff" :)

  14. I love how you brought attention to the dynamics of writing. Realizing how meaningful language can be and the nature of authors as intentional is a profound experience. I'm so glad you shared this post because I agree with you completely.:)

  15. I'm totally guilty of reading too fast. I'm not very patient, and sometimes I just need to know what happens!

  16. I'm a quick reader too...I can finish novels in a day. Especially those books that are really good, and I just can't bring myself to putting it down.

    I love punctuation. It's my favorite thing ever. It can really express those feelings.

  17. I've always been a book devourer too. So when I write, I mentally am always checking my flow a little bit, trying to make every word and letter and space count. I want it to pack a punch, if you know what I mean.

    What MFA program are you in? I used to work at a resort type place, and we had an MFA group come about twice a year for a couple weeks.

  18. I am exactly the same way! I speed through books! Definitely should try to slow down and focus on the words more!



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