The battle of reading of course is entirely different

I wrote about the Battle of Reading yesterday, but as I shared it elsewhere the title seemed to be ‘the battle of reading’, which of course is entirely different. I can’t remember not being able to read, and I know I’m fortunate that it’s so, so many people struggle, or don’t get the pleasure I get from it. My battle with reading is that I can’t stop – whenever I see words I have to read them – my family find it quite funny that I’m always stopping to read signs and notices or information pasted up. Sop in a way, I do have a battle with reading, that it’s almost addictive! I’ve been late for things because I stopped to read some notice board, I’ve got lost because I’ve crossed a road to see what a sign board says and then turned the wrong way, I’ve missed my stop when riding on a bus because I was so involved in a book/magazine/newspaper, although fortunately that’s never happened on a train!

Despite being a fluent reader, I do misread things – I’m not sure if I just glance at something and think I’ve absorbed the message, or whether I read one thing and my brain tells me I’ve read something different – push versus pull, for example, on versus off, up rather than down – is that misreading or is it not concentrating? To be honest, sometimes I don’t concentrate when I read – my eyes travel across the words, but my mind is somewhere else and I get to the bottom of the page and can’t remember what I’ve just read – because in fact I haven’t read it!! A similar thing happens when I am really gripped by a book and race through to find what happens – then I can miss an important point, or misread a character name – Carol for Cathy, Winston for Watson, and I have to go back and read again! The opposite of being gripped can also become a battle of reading – if I’m not enjoying something, or think it’s poorly written, I can drift through paragraph, or skip it altogether, and then what a muddle and mystery the  book becomes – all because of my disaffected reading.

Then there are the other books or pieces of writing, so well written, so beautifully written that I have to read each and every word, and may go back to look at sentences again because they are just so good.

The rain had stopped. Gazing out of the French windows, Smiley saw again the moonlight on the cages, touching the frost on the wire; he saw the frosted crowns of the fir trees climbing the hill into a black sky; he saw a world reversed, and the dark things picked out like beacons on the white ground. He saw a sudden moon, stepping clear before the clouds, beckoning him into seething crevices.
‘Smiley’s people’ – John le Carré


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