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Here's an article to contemplate - a return to slow reading


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I am in total agreement with this article, Thumper. I'm a slow reader. There's nothing I appreciate more than "style" in writing.I love a well-turned phrase, and redundant poorly-executed writing distracts me, making me lose my concentration.

Relishing the printed word seems, however, to be an acquired taste and eloquence is fast becoming a lost art. Everybody is in a hurry today, and the shorthand of texting has bastardized the English language. A sign of the times, I guess, and just another reminder that Life is passing me by.

But, maybe, all is not lost for me. Rapper Lil Wayne writes some of the cleverest lyrics I have every heard. His rhymes abound with cadence and flow and rather than distorting the language, he turns words into snippets of wisdom and wit. He amazes me.

Having said all of this, I still might ditch Kitty Kelly's onerous Oprah bio I'm reading. This book is certainly well-written but the subject of it has started to bore me, telling me more about the big "O" than I'm interested in hearing. In fact, the book is a galling reminder that being a bitch doesn't work for everybody. Oprah parlayed it into success. Me, my bitchiness never got past the stage of just providing me with a way to amuse myself. Bwahahahahahahahaha.

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Cynique perhaps that is why Lil Wayne is one of the most popular rappers recording today. Though my youngest said the last album did not do too well...

Sure many, perhaps most people can not sit still long enough, for a host of reasons, to fully engross themselves in a long article let alone a complex literrary work.

Thumper reading, as you enjoy, it will go the way of letter writing and the horse and buggy. Sure some will people always enjoy it but most folks will not be willing to spend the extra time and expense of particpating in those antiquated activities. The will send a text of hop in their car.

If we are to thrive, survive even, we will need to find new ways to relate, acquire, tranfer and build upon information. While books have served us for the last 1,000 years, I'm not convinced that they are the only way, or even the best way to accomplish these things.

Man created and maintained great cilivizations all over the planet before there were books. I think we will continue to do so long after the last one has turned dust.

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Hello All,

Troy, I'm going to have to disagree with you. Just because technology is moving, and our ways of communicating has evolved, I don't believe that it is for the better for us as a society. Over the centuries, our language has evolved. With the technology of today, language is being dumb down. I think its important to understand that language, like math, serves to exercise our mind. It may not improve my intelligence, but I believe it improves my ability to reason and the ability to express myself in various situations, like the growth of my vocabulary. I get all of these things from reading, knowing how to read, and occasionally challenging myself to read works that I once considered a son of a bitch. How can using a blackberry contribute to all of that. Twitter can only do so much since abbreviations is the name of the game. Why hell, dawg, that's taking us back to the stone age. Instead of the grunting with sticks and stones, we have LOL, LMAO, BTW, AART, ROTFLMAO, etc, etc. Stones made of bytes instead of matter. I bet there are days where millions of people don't read or write one complete, grammatically correct sentence.

You are correct that the days of letter writing is gone. Yet, look at us, communicating on the 21st century version of letter writing. *eyebrow raised*

Is or communication technology really an improvement or a way to travel the technology highway back to the past.

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Chris LOL!

Thumper actually I'm not saying technology is "better". I am saying it is different and I'm not completely convinced that society is actually better off as a result -- what did people do before there were books? I'm don't know if people were less happy or dumber then than they are now.

It does not look like America will not last 1,000 years. I'm virtually certain that nothing we've built, save the plastics we've dumped into landfills, will last that long.

There are, however, civilzations and cultures that lasted much longer than 1,000 years. The pyramids are still standing and those folks did not read too many books...

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Hello All,

Troy: I don't know dawg. One of the only things that has lasted that long has been language, the way we communicate with each other. It has grown and evolved. In some cases died out. But it has always been here and as long as there are humans, we are going to have to deal with it one way or the other.

You said, "The pyramids are still standing and those folks did not read too many books... "

You're right, they just invented science, mathematics, developed astrology. And although they didn't have "books" as we think of them, they did have scrolls and were the first to build libraries. *eyebrow raised*

And there is a program that was broadcast a few years ago about the greatest invention ever made. According to the program, the greatest invention ever invented was a little machine made by a German, I believe, the invention was called...the printing press. Go figure.

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  • 2 weeks later...

As an out-of-the-closet rapid reader, I have to say that I am NOT missing out on the enjoyment of reading. I find that I rejoice at the masterful use of language (when I encounter such things), am mesmerized by the details of the world within the pages and can cry/scream/suck my teeth/roll my eyes with lightning speed. My speed does not hamper my affective response to the text.

Yet, I do have to admit that there is a trade off. While I can "feel it," I can not necessarily remember it. Oh sure, I remember the feel of the words but I have an issue when it comes to remembering the details of interactions, some cause and effect relationships or the moment before the denouement. As a result, I am the Queen of the Re-Read (if I have to discuss with any semblance of intelligence).

Non-fiction selections are treated much the same. I want the information and iwannaknownow! I'm never too far away from post-it notes to mark a place of return or jot an at-the-moment-prolific thought. Ultimately, I want to get through the text and move onto the next shiny thing that captures my attention.

As an educator, I understand the need for slower reading, especially as it relates to content specific text. Students, no matter their level, struggle when it comes to pulling meaning/understanding from text full of specialized vocabulary. Their expectation is, if I don't get it the teacher will translate for me. Of course, as their teacher, I throw the spoon at them as I inform, "Feed your damn self!"

Reading is one thing I enjoy fast.

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TABONNEFEE! Not THE original Tabonnefee?! NO. Not the one from, ahh.... Ohio? Wow, if so, it's been years since I've seen your words.

Then again, maybe I am just a slow reader. You know, like retarded slow, and thus, missed your name over the years.

Seriously though, I can't help but read slow. I mean, when I try to skim read or read at a pace that's out of my comfort zone, I don't remember a dang thing, so I have to read it again anyway.

I believe a person's reading habits and style, is set early in life. Well, maybe I should speak for myself. As a child, my father was our night time book reader. He always read the stories with a very sloooooow pace. He would even stop along the way and do a little overview. I read the same way to my children. And, since my early (after high school) education was centered around math and science, there was no way I could skim over or skim through that stuff. So my reading pace has always been very slow.

But don't get me wrong, like Cynique, if a book is so poorly written or is such a total bore, that it becomes a frustrating read, I might read every other paragraph, or even every other page, or throw that puppy to the floor.

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  • 4 months later...

What an important article!

This is one of the things I worried about with my novel "Sexy Part of the Bible" coming up.

I told Johnny Temple that I feared the "attention span" of today's mainstream wouldn't be able

to grasp all the nuances and metaphors of this story

(I was nervous about the book being released on

July 1st, 2011, which is the "STAR BEACH READING SLOT" usually reserved for superstar authors--summer

and Christmas being the 2 biggest book buying seasons

& the most competitive. My book is not "Jaws" or "The Shining"--you really have to be a reader to read "Sexy

Part of the Bible." So I fear that a LITERARY novel

no matter how original & inventive will have a hard

time up against the disposable entertainment tomes

that publishers "engineer" for beach reading). But

he said we still have to publish the book "on GP

that it's brilliant" to use his words & that my

book is a "break out" book; it's hard to put down.

I have come to accept the compliment of being chosen for their big summer release--but still, you have to wonder

who will "GET IT" on the beach even if

they do read the book?

Back in the day, you didn't have to worry so much. But

the questions readers ask today are shocking.

EXAMPLE: "How did the shopkeeper know that Lipman was

Jewish? That didn't make sense to me."

**READERS don't even pay attention to 'names' anymore & can't distinguish a Jewish name from an Irish one. So you have to explain every little thing. The word "Harlem" can

no longer be used as a metaphor because you have to explain

(in detail) to Black kids outside NYC what Harlem is---that Black artists used to have a community; a capital city of


For Black writers with real talent...this is becoming a horrible problem.

You have many, many very gifted Black authors who are writing "trash novels" under pseudonyms because the

major houses have dumbed down the audience with poorly written gangster street novels. Authors have to

feed themselves while they work on their more serious books, but for the Black author, there is literally no

outlet for those more serious books. Believe it or not--the publishers also complain if your "Trash books" are too smart or have a point of view. You would be shocked at the LACK of "savvy" and marketing intelligence

among the "Black Book Editors" in NYC, they all come from a traditional type background that doesn't allow much

thinking-out-the-box or deviation (to them...LA Banks is clever; Sister Souljah is radical). NOTICE that

not a single book they publish has any surprises or challenges in it. There's nothing to talk about on the MIT.

A HUGE part of the problem is that Black editors are like the Black community itself--liberal about politics but

conservative about any expression of social issues). They pick "safe" books and they fear anyone who truly stands for something that is unfamiliar to them (or not yet blessed by White folks). They're followers. They only want to publish what was ALREADY a hit last year.

Even their trash novels are 7th grade level. Gone are the days when Donald Goings, Harold Robbins & Chester Himes gave us "good trash" (meaning well written & thoughtful prose despite being exploitation pot boilers).

All around me, I see very talented Black authors "dying a little" inside until they just turn into husks from

not having access to the intelligent black masses who actually DO read books (people like Cynique & Soul Sista

& so many others here are proof that there is a huge market out there not being serviced with real astute writing).

The fact that today's Black teenagers struggle with James Baldwin and learn how to misspell from reading

"cute" hip hop lyrics or lose their attention spans from having 290 cable channels & video games is truly stifling us.

Last week, I was the only Black author to have 2 deals listed in Publisher's Marketplace (granted, 1 was for

Television rights, not a book). But that is very tragic. Out of 650 deals for the week---only 1 black author?? Especially when you consider all the "Glamor & intrigue" I had to utilize around myself BEFORE the fact that I can really write could be noticed. I mean literally---writers today are having to become like movie stars or Pop singers in order to find an opening in the wall. If you are black and do not have a way to draw attention to yourself; you will toil forever and ever waiting and hoping that you will be that 1 lucky person out of 1 million to be given a shot. The strength of your work is almost meaningless. It's like trying out for a recording contract--the doll with no voice but model looks is chosen to be signed over the 2nd coming of Sarah Vaughn. And that's not only unfair to Black artists...it's unfair to the collective black brain.

Without good art that speaks specifically to us...we can't grow.

If you look at the gains of the 1960's - 1980's in this country...you will see that Blacks have unequivocally

gone BACKWARDS; not forwards. When the hip hop cultural movement replaced the civil rights movement; I think it lobotomized the black mind.

We really DO...need to comprehend...what we read and develop critical thinking skills.

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