Time for Reading

The Chronicle for Higher Education talks about making time for reading:
I want to start a new movement, now.
From the 19th century on, more and more segments of our society — farmers, factory workers, doctors, professors — have been urged to speed things up in order to produce more eggs or automobiles, or to heal or educate more people. Charles Dickens gave expression to the pathos of life under such a regime in his novel Hard Times; so did Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times, a work of cinematic art that gets to the heart of what ails society. The Monty Python crew made fun of this imperative in its "All-England Summarize Proust Competition" for the best synopsis of Proust's seven-volume Remembrance of Things Past in 15 seconds. The fun poked at attempts to speed-read the classics was as painful as Chaplin's effort to survive industrialization. And it's no joke: Imagine radiologists forced to read 13 mammograms per hour, without interrupting their reading to speak to the women whose scans they are analyzing. I know of at least one such case.
Is it any surprise that there is now a reading crisis worldwide that affects people at all levels, from preschool to graduate school, the affluent and the poor alike? Don't assume you are immune, people of higher education. Is it reassuring or frightening to learn that problems that afflict one group actually afflict other groups considered to be as different as night and day? Maybe such a realization is both consoling and discommoding in equal measure. In any case, the reading crisis that is upon us is widespread.
Read the whole article here.

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