Try some slow reading over the holidays

Mark Luetkehoelter, Librarian

The busy fall semester is almost done, and soon hopefully everyone will have a little time to slow down and not worry so much about deadlines over the holidays. During the down time, the Madison College Libraries would like to encourage you to do some slow reading. 

What’s slow reading? 

According to David Mikics in his seminal book on the topic, “Slow Reading in a Hurried Age,” available to read as an e-book from the Madison College Libraries, “In reaction against the breathless pace of our computer- driven world, writers on social trends have begun to extol the virtues of a more meditative, involved approach to many parts of our lives, and reading is no exception. Faster is not always better. Reading for information is not the same as slow, deep reading for pleasure and understanding.”  

So much of what we do today is done at a breakneck speed, and that includes reading. Since Mikics wrote his book, many scholarly articles have been written extolling the virtues of slow reading, or deep reading as it is also referred to now, for building comprehension and critical thinking in our brains. You can read many of those articles in the library’s subscription database EbscoHOST. 

OK, so if we’ve convinced you to try some slow reading over the holidays, what to read? The Madison College Libraries would like to suggest some National Book Award nominees. 

Each November the National Book Foundation presents these awards to celebrate the best literature in America. Most of those books find their way into our library collection. 

This year’s winner for best fiction, “Hell of a Book,” by Jason Mott is already in our collection. Mott’s novel follows an African American author on a cross country tour promoting his novel, a young boy named Soot living in a rural town in the recent past, and a possibly imaginary character named The Kid as their stories converge in this examination of racism, police violence, and what it means to be Black in America. 

The libraries also have the runner-up titles in fiction, “Cloud Cuckoo Land” by Anthony Doerr, and “Matrix” by Lauren Groff. 

Following up his Pulitzer Prize winning “All the Light We Can See,” Doerr’s new novel follows the stories of children over vast spans of time trying to make sense of the world around them. Groff’s novel follows a young woman cast out of the royal court by Eleanor of Aquataine who is sent to be the prioress of an impoverished abbey in England. 

If those titles don’t do it for you, and you’d like a suggestion on something to read, ask a librarian at who would be happy to recommend a fiction or non-fiction title for you. 

Congratulations on getting through the fall semester, have a relaxing holiday and try to find a cozy spot to do some slow reading!