Book Marking My Life

I love reading now, but I’ve had a tumultuous relationship in the past.

During high school, I knew my reading speed was plodding. Debilitatingly slow. I took a speed reading course. It was very primitive. I watched a 35mm movie on a black screen with just a block of text highlighted. It jumped along from one block to the next. The theory was that I could be trained to increase the width of the text block (read-more words at a time.) The first of ten sessions was like reading at break-neck speed. I did poorly in the quiz about what I had just read.

After the last session (over ten weeks), I asked the teacher to put the first lesson on again. It felt like I could go out of the room, have a glass of milk and not miss a word.

The benefits of the training lasted for many years, but I have gradually lost some speed. Unfortunately, my wife reads at a very high rate – as in, I finish chapter one, and she is looking for her next book. (Insert image of me crying-not !)

I will skip the common question of what book I would take to a desert island or what author I take on vacation with me.

Here are three very recent books that have, are, or will be marking my life.

First, I have just finished Todd Babiak’s Son of France. He worked as a reporter with the Edmonton Journal. He took a year off to live in France, and he wrote about his adventures there. I’m not sure, but I think he is a full-time writer now. It is a work of fiction, escapism-time well wasted. It’s fun to vicariously learn about other countries and cultures through reading, even if the storyline is fiction.

The book I’ve just started is Dream States by John Lorinc. He is a new author for me, with many books already published. The dozen pages devoted to the author’s ‘Introduction’ hooked me. I think the book is going to explore dream states; countries, cities and neighbourhoods. I hope I can make better sense of my city.

The book I have lined up after Dream States is The Big Melt by Emily Riddle. It is out of my Comfort Zone because it is the first book of poetry I’ve ever owned. I heard the author being interviewed, and she read a short excerpt. It was very accessible. It held my attention and informed me. I can’t wait, but I know it will be a while.

Please give this a bit of a think. What is something to read recently that left its mark? No limit on medium: Book, paper, digital, magazine, newspaper. How did it change you? How would you summarize it in one sentence that would get others to want to read it?

While on the topic of books, I will sneak the 4th book into the discussion. It is titled “For Curious Spirits” by Glenn Walmsley. Yup, my first book. It is my Blogs from 2019-2020. It is free. Unfortunately, it is only available at the Apple Book Store by clicking the Book title or to email me, and I’ll send the EPUB formatted file. Most devices should be able to read it.

I’m curious about your thoughts. Please share your bit of a think below.

The featured image at the start of this first Blog in 2023 is the photo of my book cover, a compilation of my blogs. The terrific image of the toddler looking at you through his legs is by Jordan Whitt on Unsplash

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2 thoughts on “Book Marking My Life

  1. Vic Charlton says:

    I’ve just read through most of your current blogs, Glenn. And my impression is that they’re written thoughtfully and are well-researched. In other words, I enjoyed them. I, too, enjoy reading and used Covid to get through Crime and Punishment, The Count of Monte Cristo and a few others in the same classics genre; classics as my choice because there’s a reason they’re still around. And like you, my curiosity pushes me to dig deeper on topics, especially those that have moved into the realm, almost, of unquestioned folklore. Speed reading (like your mention of paradigm shift) has been around for years and still makes money for some. Unfortunately–though its converts will dispute this (we tend to hang onto inculcated beliefs, however false)–it doesn’t work. Another belief, in a similar vein and definitely folklore, is the notion of learning styles; the idea that we have preferred modalities (a fancy word for sensory perception: visual, auditory or tactile) of learning. But enough of this divergence. Please keep up your blog. My best wishes on your book’s success.

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