Thursday, September 3, 2009

Speed reading as unwanted as speed sex

I have about the same interest in learning speed reading as I do in learning speed sex.

If I’m doing something I enjoy, I want to extend the pleasure. I like it when the baseball game goes into extra innings, when the leisurely director’s cut is included in the DVD and that soothing fall weekend when we all get an extra hour of sleep.

I don’t know what the rush is when it comes to reading. I’ve read the reports that you can increase volume without diminishing comprehension, but I never want to read like I’m racing.

Time spent reading is like a stealth vacation. I want to savor every sentence. I don’t want to gulp a glorious book. I want to sip it.

Alas, I no longer have the time to read the way I always wish I could.

Ever since we’ve had children, I read like I’m cheating on a diet. I sneak a bite here and there when I think no one is looking.

It seems like I’m doing something criminal if my wife or one of the girls walks in during the daylight hours and I’m sitting in the easy chair, feet back with my nose pointed at the interior spine of a really fat book.

Of course, we spend about an hour each night reading aloud to our girls, ages 8 and 3, and that’s a joy. I hope we’re nurturing in them the same joy for reading our parents did in us. But reading Dr. Seuss’s “The Things I Think I Think” with a cartoonishly animated voice isn’t the same as settling into a book like David Halberstam’s lively 801-page book, “The Fifties.”

And after we’ve tucked the kids in we’re both too whipped to do much reading so we usually just zone out to something like a 1994 Seinfeld episode we’ve both seen a combined 324 times.

As for romance, speedy or otherwise, that’s another casualty of trying to do our very best raising our little rascals.

It is, indeed, one of life’s great ironies that the ultimate result of having sex becomes one of the greatest impediments to ever having it again.

Like many couple we want it all. We yearn to be outstanding parents with many gleeful evening hours of quality time with our darlings. We want to indulge our intellects with cerebral readings and we want to maintain an enthusiastic and vigorous love life.

We often make the mistake of trying to do all three in order and on the same night with predictable results.

We get engrossed in our books and, dang it, the moment is gone. We’re too tired for intimacy.

Hmmm . . .

Maybe there’s something to that speed reading thing after all.


Jinksy said...

Maybe some evening, leave the kids in the care of one parent, lock yourself in another room and read to saturation point. Taken in turns, this could make both parents realise they are still individuals, too!

Bruce Coltin said...

Your opening sentence broke me up. And, you are correct, it's all about tasting the words. A wonderful post!

Chris Rodell said...

Thanks, Jinxy. That's a good idea. I hope I can convince my wife of its value.

And, thank you, Bruce. Your words are music to my ears. Much appreciated, my friend.

Best of weekends to you both (and to anyone else who MOSEY's on by)!

Chris R.

The Unbreakable Child said...

loved the tastn' words. :0

Unknown said...


Practicing with books that display a larger font is better when starting a speed reading program because text with small letters makes it easier for an individual to skip lines by mistake.