[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”0674724720″ locale=”us” height=”333″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51cvpEixgUL.jpg” width=”222″ alt=”David Mikics” ]Gradual Sweetness and Strength
A Feature Review of
Slow Reading in A Hurried Age
Hardback: Harvard UP, 2013
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Reviewed by C. Christopher Smith
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One of the greatest challenges that we face in Western culture at the turn of the 21st century is the problem of speed. This problem has been described in a number of different ways, perhaps most strikingly by sociologist George Ritzer, as the “McDonaldization of Society” (the title of his important 1992 book). Ritzer and other critics, including Wendell Berry, have emphasized the destructive powers of speed. Indeed, one of the most pressing questions that humanity will have to address in this century is: how do we slow down? As co-author of the forthcoming book Slow Church, I have spent the last few years reflecting on this very question, but if I was pressed to name a single practice that would be most transformative in helping us to slow down, I would say learning to read slowly and well. Reading is essential to Western culture, and we all do substantial amounts of it every day, but the challenge, of course, is to create space in our lives for reading slowly and attentively. As we begin to do so, we will find ourselves slowing down in other parts of our lives.