Monday, May 19

Speed Reading

I am a slow reader. It's not something I boast about, but it is a tragic fact. Many times I wish I could read books faster, so that I could devour all the books I want to read in a much shorter length of time. Alas, I cannot.

Or can I?

Not long ago, it came to my attention that there are applications being developed to enhance reading speed. A couple that I have come across are Spritz and Spreeder. These applications help readers to consume information at speeds which would seem improbably to the fastest of readers, let alone a slow-poke like myself. Yet, I was amazed to discover that I could take in what the rapid text that was being flashed before my eyes.

Am I impressed by these speed reading applications? Absolutely. The ingenuity which has gone into these applications is incredible. However, while I think that it is very clever when it comes to time management, I was aware that everything I was reading came across as monotone in my head. I couldn't help but wonder, How would this translate when reading a novel?

If you are reading dialogue at a faster pace than the characters speak, with no time to absorb the emotions or inflections, it subtracts from the moment. Apps like Spreeder and Spritz train you to read without pausing to think, but why do we read if not to experience? It is one thing to consume a vast quantity of information, but if you do not have time to reflect on it, there is little chance it will leave much of an impact.

Do I wish I could read novels at a quicker pace? Of course. Do I think that speed reading applications are the future for helping me to read more novels in a shorter period of time? No.

Don't get me wrong, I think these speed reading apps are incredibly clever and a valuable technology. I just don't think that they suit the medium of fiction. Ultimately, I think it depends on what you are reading and what you hope to get out of it.

Are you a fast reader? What are your thoughts on speed reading applications?

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