It’s time for confession and internet-style public embarrassment again. For all my amateurish advice on reading well, mostly cribbed from recollections of Mortimer Adler in How To Read, you’d think I’d have the basic technique down. You know, of reading. Unfortunately, I don’t. Nope, not me. I read books the wrong way. Or at least, I think I do.
Here’s the problem in a nutshell. I read fiction for truth and information, as fast as possible, corn-on-the-cob style, consuming ideas like clusters of kernels. With non-fiction, I’m looking for a story, some narrative , and not one external to the information that will put it in context, but an actual tale that will take me through it. I only realized this while reading Kazuro Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, and frankly, Mr. Careful Plot Revelation wasn’t exactly helping me out (that is, it’s a page-turner—read it).
I think I’ll invent a word for this, dysthemia. Suggestive of mixing up the point of a written work. There, can someone call the OED for me? I don’t have their number.