My thanks to Mark for his post Music to My Eyes, which was the impetus (inspiration?) for this post.
I have read tens of thousands of books over the years. I read really fast - always have. I devour books. A couple years ago, for the first time, someone invited me to join a book club - it was an informal group, mostly folks I work with or that used to work where I work. About six of us normally participate. And we talk about the book for maybe 15 minutes and then eat and chat and gossip for another two hours at a usual meeting. It's lovely.
I was really nervous about joining a book club - I have read my share of Oprah books (which I rarely have enjoyed) and often flip through the "book club questions" at the back and stare at them blankly - wondering what in the hell does THAT question mean? But these work friends know me well...so I figured whatever I said would at least entertain them.
What I learned was that everyone reads a book so differently - I smash through, chasing the story as quickly as I can. What happens next??? Another friend is always finding some philosophical or life lesson being taught to a character in the book or to us. And my favorite bookclub friend is like Mark, savoring the words and phrasing. And she can give, often, a clear cut example when she really likes something - actually point out how the author put something and why that spoke to her. Wow!
I have also noticed this at Al anon meetings. We read certain daily meditation books at meetings and I read them through - what does it say and what does it mean? - and then others skip back to certain phrases or sentences and talk about how that particularly set of words evoked some thought or feeling for them. Much like life, eh? Stop chasing the "what happens next" and smell the roses a bit?
I am learning, from all of these wonderful writers and readers in my life, to slow down a little. Let the words wash over me a little (or at least try). It's easier for me to do with the shorter meditation readings or blog posts. Like most new concepts, breaking it down to a manageable scale usually works best. Hard to believe that after all these years, a new layer of enjoyment in reading is available to me!