If you pledged to be more consistent in reading throughout this year, let’s do that together. Immerse yourself in the books you pick up: Read More 2022 inspires readers to have an enriching reading experience and encourages them to read at least one book a month from January to December through shared prompts. Read more about #ReadMore2022 Challenge here.
When was the last time you grabbed a book, went to your favorite reading spot, with a cup of coffee or piece of decadent cake–unbothered by the notifications popping on your phone or the number of books you have to finish in order to catch up on your reading goal?
While it feels rewarding to devour a 400-page novel in one sitting, there are also benefits to reading slowly; it’s also equally comforting to find quality time to actively read a book–digesting the words piece by piece; to be fully present with no distractions.
If you think you are a slow reader, take it from us (booksellers): that’s okay. In this modern age where everything is fast-paced, slow reading could make you appreciate the text and time spent reading better all together.
Here are three benefits to meaningful, immersive reading–the kind wherein there’s no need to rush, no scrolling, no skimming. This is the art of slow reading.
Slow reading reduces stress
One positive impact of getting at least 30 minutes of uninterrupted reading is it can help with your anxiety and decrease stress. Since slow reading encourages you to really engage with a book and put your social media aside, you can force the mind to focus on one thing at a time inside of being bombarded with the entire world inside your phone.
Slow reading can make you smarter
While you think skimming through your news feed and jumping from one article to the next helps exercise your brain, author and technology sage Nicholas Carr says otherwise. In an article by The Guardian, Carr said that your hyperactive online habits are damaging the mental faculties you need to process and understand lengthy textual information.
"If you want the deep experience of a book, if you want to internalize it, to mix an author's ideas with your own and make it a more personal experience, you have to read it slowly," says Ottawa-based John Miedema, author of Slow Reading.
Slow reading helps you understand the world better
When you’re invested in a book, chances are you will indulge in the moments it has to offer: moments of joy, anxiety, excitement, suffering, pain, loss. This can lead to greater interpersonal skills.
As written in The Guardian: “One can’t rush by phrases from Henry David Thoreau’s Walden—such as, “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately”—and still follow the meaning of the work. Readers must stop for a moment, even if only to shake their heads and mumble, “Huh?” They insert a hesitant question before moving on.What does he mean, “deliberately”?
When you have to understand what another person is saying, whether or not they are being blunt with you, it helps you also understand what they’re going through, who they are, and the reason for saying what they say.
TIPS TO PRACTICE SLOW, IMMERSIVE READING
1. Set aside a specific time just for reading. As much as we would like to be consumed by the pages all day, we know this is hardly possible. Set aside 30 minutes for uninterrupted reading time–this can be in the morning after you wake up or before you go to bed at night. Make sure to turn off notifications and set aside your phone to avoid distractions.
2. Annotate using tabs or writing instruments to highlight passages you liked. Annotations refers to adding your own thoughts or insights into a book or text; it also allows you to come back to favorite passages, useful facts, or meaningful quotes. You can also transfer them to a notebook of reading insights.
3. Discuss with a book buddy or book club. Immersive reading also turns to meaningful conversations. Talking about a book with fellow readers helps you synthesize your experience reading the book and add layers of meaning through the perspective of others.
You can always choose to stick with whatever works with you, but there is always something sweet and intimate about reading immersively. For a more meaningful and relaxed reading experience, opt to try to embrace slow reading.
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