Too many people try to read books in one shot. One sitting (or a handful of long sittings). One long, “Hail Mary” pass. That’s all well and good, except that, since you’re both the quarterback and the receiver in this metaphorical game (in fact, you are an entire, single-person American football team), you very quickly throw your arm out.
So, no, bad. Don’t read a book once.
Read it 10 times.
And the first nine times, read badly. Read sloppily. Just these first nine times. Read the book out of order, skim and skip to the cool parts — the pictures and cleavage 1 and swearing and the fight scenes.
Remember how, when you were a kid, and there were things called newspapers, and (especially when a big, fat one came in on Sundays) you would skip directly to the comics — the funnies? Yeah? Do that. With all books. Especially books in languages you’re not used to yet.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying never read books properly. I’m just saying don’t do it now; don’t do it first. Do it later. Skim and skip and skid through the book now: only read the cool parts. You can always read it properly, word for word, like a good little girl, after the hundredth time. Your hundredth pass through can be your “proper” pass.
What’s that? Yeah, we started with nine or ten; we changed it to a hundred. Why? ‘Coz we’re capricious like that! Okay? We play it fast and loose! We take DayQuil at night! We drink milk from the carton! We spread butter without a butter knife! We’re reading randomly, motherlover! This be RANDOKU (亂読, 多読 (tadoku)’s sexy cousin)!
OK, easy, Internal Leonidas. Calm down.
- So, is it your hundredth time through yet? No? Then keep reading sloppily.
- OK, now it is your hundredth time through? Yes? Good. Now, your hundredth time through, you can read the book “properly”, in order, in sequence, in long sittings, because any book you’ve been through a hundred times probably deserves it because it’s obviously one that you actually like enough to do that to.
But the first 99 times? Pffft. Screw it. What, are the words running away? No. Is the book running away? No, you own it. The book will still be there and the words will still be there in the exact order the author put them in and you’ll be able to go through them in that exact order, like Teacher’s favorite kid, after your hundredth pass through the book.
You own it. You own the book. Do you know what it means to own something? It means you can do whatever the Fuddruckers you like with it, that’s what it means. You can make it live in your restroom, tear it up and put the pages in your pocket, make paper planes out of it and no one can say jack to you because it’s your property. Oh, and you can also objectify it, gaze at it, and cast your eyes across its pages in any order you like! In fact, you can even flip the script and choose to not look at the parts you don’t like — to treat them as if they didn’t even exist!
By the way, do you like how the numbers keep changing? 9? 99? It’s sloppy, isn’t it? That’s the point. Sloppy. Like our reading. We don’t do the job once well, we do it a hundred times badly, like laying a coat of paint, many times over the same spots goes the brush.
Don’t not read properly, just postpone it. Read badly 9~99 times first — be flaky, like someone who breaks his promises and skips out on his friends because he can’t be bovvered and abandons the woman (or women? 😛 ) he’s holding hands with at the time literally the instant something better-looking comes strutting down the street 2: in short, be an absolute bastard, because it’s a freaking book; it’s an object; treat it like one; you can do that and it’s cool. Then read well.
↑ Maybe if I actually read books properly, I wouldn’t write paragraphs like that… 😉