I’m relearning how to read. After months of cramming hardcore philosophy and historical dissertations during the week and suffering from serious brain drain on the weekends, I’m slowly rediscovering the delight of tasting the words on the page and not checking the page number to see how much farther to the finish. Last week, I finished The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan, part of his Wheel of Time series. I read half of it the weekend before this past semester started, read about 5 pages during the semester, and finished it in a night last week. Now I’m finishing A History of the World in 6 Glasses, an easy read that I’ve only had time to chip away at since last summer. If you’re at all a fan of drinking beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea, or coke, you would enjoy it, although I’m fairly convinced that any good historian with a readable persuasive voice and decent research can “prove” that history was definitively shaped by their pet interest; for example, see Salt: A World History or Robbing the Bees: A Biography of Honey or one of the drier dissertations I read recently, The Revolution of the Saints: A Study in the Origins of Radical Politics, which argues that the Puritans created liberal politics and that all subsequent revolutions are descended from their radicalism.
Unfortunately, my recent flurry of pleasure reading and all of the reading and writing I’ve done in school lately have made me realize that I furrow my brow intensely when reading, which inevitably leads to a headache. When I unfurrow my brow, I somehow have more difficulty focusing on the words. Since I don’t think that the placement of my eyebrows on my face has much to do with my cognitive ability, I’m going to the eye doctor tomorrow. It may be that my reign as the Eyesight Wonder Kid of the family (everybody else wears glasses) is finally coming to an end.
This is a minor setback, however, and I will be victorious in tackling my stack of summer books. (I almost re-wrote the previous sentence, placing the “however” at the front, as one of my professors hates it when the “however” is in the middle of the sentence. I once told him that one of my teachers had taught me to put it in the middle and not the front, and he said “Who was it?? What’s his name? Was it somebody in the English department? They don’t know how to write over there.” I’m having a hard time adjusting to writing by my own preferences.) If the problem isn’t my eyesight, I’m not sure what I’ll do to prevent the furrowing. Maybe duct tape my forehead smooth? This could prove difficult. That’s okay – I can fix it. I can also fix dinner, which is what I’m going to go do now.
“I am not a speed reader. I am a speed understander.”
– Isaac Asimov