So You Want to “Read Deeply?”

I’ve been on a tear lately against all of those people who claim that the internetz are destroying our ability to read books. Because puhlease.

And I started wondering what these people thought they meant when they bemoaned our supposed inability to engage in “deep reading.” What is “deep reading?” Well, here’s how a recent Time article put it (warning: nonsense up ahead)

slow, immersive, rich in sensory detail and emotional and moral complexity — [it] is a distinctive experience, different in kind from the mere decoding of words… A book’s lack of hyperlinks, for example, frees the reader from making decisions — Should I click on this link or not? — allowing her to remain fully immersed in the narrative.

Ok, ok, if people are so concerned about our abandonment of “deep reading,” I have a few helpful suggestions for how to keep this practice going:

1. read in the deep end of the pool: hey, there aren’t as many distractions because there are usually fewer people there than in the shallow end, right?

2. read far out in the ocean: again, fewer distractions, but watch out for sharks and angry eels and things

3. only listen to audiobooks, all of which are narrated by James Earl Jones: this needs no explanation

4. read your book aloud while a chain-smoking beatnik remarks “that’s deeeep, maaan” after every page

5. read books written by French existentialists

6. read while sitting in the wreck of the Titanic

7. read while you’re being grounded by your parents: because you’re already in deep trouble so why not do some deep reading?!

8. read while taking really deep breaths (if you black out, that’s your problem)

9. read while wearing only deep colors

10. read while listening to Deep Purple