philthecow: (spiral)
[personal profile] philthecow
If you want to hear about a willful misreading that puts Menocchio to shame, you should contact me sometime. Just provide a punching bag.

I wanted to start doing reading for my Orientalism paper last night, but that kind of went to hell when I started thinking about this particular mis-reader.

(Hint: he comes from a time that rhymes with GASP, and also ASP, and also WATCH MY LIFE GO TO CRASP.)

Once he said to me "You read too fast to understand anything." From him it was an insult, an insinuation that I was the bad reader, not him, but this is a sentiment that has been expressed to me several times in several different contexts. Although it depends on what I'm reading and why I'm reading it, my typical pace ranges from 100-200 pages an hour, topping out at the high end for academic reading (sorry, Swarthmore) and more on the low end for leisure reading. Speedy is the only way I know how to read, which is probably the reason that I've never been a fan of poetry.

My roommate's pretty jealous of this reading business and my boyfriend treats it like a fetish object. (He's been known to lead his friends into my room and say "Watch her read," which is creepy, but also cute, right? Right?) I tend to see my habits in the same favorable light, given that I can always get my seminar reading done on time, but every once in a while I wonder what I'm missing out on. I know that I'm not the best person for picking up the finer points of an argument, and literary language doesn't make much of an impression on me, but I feel that I get what I want out of most books most of the time.

The question remains: is what I want out of books what I should want out of books? I decided to prioritize volume over intense engagement a long time ago: why did I do that, and how has it effected my experience of reading? Was it a "bad" or a "good" choice?

(The tentative answer to that last question?

As long as you're not reading The Second Sex as an apologia for rape, you're doing pretty OK.)

Date: 2007-03-08 09:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Just different strategies. Yours means you can be familiar with a much much higher number of texts than most people can/will, and that offers all sorts of possiblities for synthesis, making connections and finding criticisms. Best to play to your strengths, right? Keep on reading like you like to read, and just focus on increasing the amount you do of the opportunities it offers re: linking/mixing up ideass.

Date: 2007-03-08 09:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It's better than the way I read seminar readings, which is staring at the title page for three hours and then throwing the book across the room.

Date: 2007-03-08 11:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I hate to do this, but since it's school stuff..."how has it affected". Just a slip of the finger, I'm sure.

I read fast too. My solution? Read everything twice (or more) if I have time and want to. Otherwise, at least I got the gist. And people always accuse one of reading things "wrong" if one doesn't agree with them. The number of times I got told that by my philosophy prof/grader was large. And IRRITATING.

Date: 2007-03-09 07:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
But now I can't correct it, since you pointed it out! *pouts* Not that it will be too terrible, since my volume is racking up and we're only on the third day of three weeks. I like spelling errors, they humanize us?

That said, I'm glad other people read fast. And "wrong," although I don't get told that too often. Just by obnoxious pedants. Like philosophy graders.

Date: 2007-03-09 01:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
hahahaha. that's funny. i read trashy fiction hella fast, and i can skim fast, but poetry (and the re-reading process it requires) have taught me to dial the reading pace down to glacial. i wouldn't sweat it. nobody reads anything that carefully the first time around.

and seriously, lauren, who the fuck even exists to tell you what you should get out of reading? reading is not for other people! reading is for you! reading is your bitch!

Date: 2007-03-09 07:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
See, I think reading is your bitch one day, but you're reading's bitch the next, when, say, you re-read Donne (or dead-Baudrillard) for the umpteenth time and realize that you were wrong about everything the other times.

That's what makes it fun. And frustrating. And fun.

Date: 2007-03-11 11:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
oh hey... I was thinking about asking for some Baudrillard for my birthday since he's amazing, and I was wondering if you had a suggestion?

Date: 2007-03-09 08:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yes. TASP essentially ruined me academically as well, and given that my experience with this school has been one long TASP...well, let's just say I have found things that aren't intellectual to occupy my (albeit small) free time with.

Date: 2007-03-11 11:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I used to get accused of reading fast... but I only read about 1/4 as fast as your fastest :o
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