|Eadward Muybridge's "The Horse in Motion" (1878)|
The sharp contrast between the experiences of reading these two books had me reflecting on how fast I read. Should I slow down and savor the language? Is there such a thing as reading too fast? Am I reading so fast that, like Muybridge's horse, I'm not even touching the ground? When I read, when I'm really into the book, I'm not really aware of taking in every word--and yet I still understand what's going on. (But with something like Wolf Hall, I can't do that because the writing is so disjointed.)
The thing about slowing down is that, if I think too much about the fact that I'm reading, my neurons start to stumble over themselves and I lose my connection to the story. It's like being aware of your breathing. If you think about it, you lose the whole rhythm of the thing.