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Slow Reading in a Hurried Ageby David Mikics
Synopses & Reviews
Wrapped in the glow of the computer or phone screen, we cruise websites; we skim and skip. We glance for a brief moment at whatever catches our eye and then move on. Slow Reading in a Hurried Age reminds us of another mode of reading--the kind that requires our full attention and that has as its goal not the mere gathering of information but the deeper understanding that only good books can offer.
Slow Reading in a Hurried Age is a practical guide for anyone who yearns for a more meaningful and satisfying reading experience, and who wants to sharpen reading skills and improve concentration. David Mikics, a noted literary scholar, demonstrates exactly how the tried-and-true methods of slow reading can provide a more immersive, fulfilling experience. He begins with fourteen preliminary rules for slow reading and shows us how to apply them. The rules are followed by excursions into key genres, including short stories, novels, poems, plays, and essays.
Reading, Mikics says, should not be drudgery, and not mere escape either, but a way to live life at a higher pitch. A good book is a pathway to finding ourselves, by getting lost in the words and works of others.
"Although University of Houston English professor Mikics (The Art of the Sonnet) presents the guidelines in this thoughtful book as an antidote to the 'continuous partial attention' that comes with distracted reading on the Internet, they are in fact the ground rules of the lit-crit technique known as 'close reading,' pioneered by American academics in the middle of the 20th century. As he ably demonstrates, those rules are still valid for understanding literature today, and for an enriched reading experience. Likening engagement with a new book to traveling to a new land, Mikics offers 14 preliminary rules for familiarizing oneself with the terrain and applies them in studies of short stories, novels, poems, essays, and plays. Several rules seem obvious: 'Be Patient,' 'Get a Sense of Style,' and 'Use the Dictionary.' For others, like 'Identify Signposts,' 'Track Key Words,' and 'Find the Parts,' he shows how careful application of these rules deepens the reader's grasp of the text — notably in his insightful deconstruction of Chekhov's short story 'Gooseberries.' Mikics writes accessibly and with infectious enthusiasm on an impressively eclectic range of classic and contemporary texts. The reader who picks up this volume will likely already have been won over to Mikics's argument, but the book's pedagogical value for students is considerable." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Reading, David Mikics says, should not be drudgery, and not mere information-gathering or escape either, but a way to live life at a higher pitch. Slow Reading in a Hurried Age is a practical guide for anyone who yearns for a more meaningful, satisfying reading experience, as well as sharper reading skills and improved concentration.
An Australian "Hot Read for Summer" Pick, 2013
About the Author
David Mikics is John and Rebecca Moores Professor of English at the University of Houston.
University of Houston
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