Skimming through

by A.R Sara

Once I begin reading, at some point in the book I get so absorbed that reading becomes synonymous with breathing. It occurs naturally without a conscious effort. Unless a string of words pack in a meaningful punch of such intensity that I come up gasping for air and temporarily the words from the book tangle with the physical world.

I’m currently half way through a novel and a thought struck.
I am reading it with multiple interruptions in between, as can be expected in this current phase of life. Reason I am even able to take a step back and let my thoughts wander in this direction.
I begin to wonder if I am just skimming through or reading every line. I realize that while some lines I wrap my mind around, other parts I just skim through. But the same can’t be said for all books, isn’t it? Some books just compel you to dwell on every line for a slow ride and some may suck you in and toss you out in a jiffy, while the rest may alternate between the two states.

With this on my mind, I strike a conversation with my son.
“Do you skim through or read every line?”
He reluctantly lowers the Alex Rider novel, he has been reading.
“Depends on the book and the mood, mom,” he answers patiently.
I wait.
After a pause he adds “I skimmed through Percy Jackson novels,” he admits.
“Wimpy kid, I can’t miss a word,” he smiles. “A book like Wonder is in the same category. Every line I read. A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, falls somewhere in between. But depends…”

After a pause he adds, “Some books I skim through and then go back and read line by line.”

I wait for a beat as I process what he has said.

“Which category do my books fall in?” I ask slowly, unable to hold back the question that rages on my mind now.

“Mom…” he stalls.

I realize I am holding my breath.
Is that a grimace on my son’s face, I wonder.
“Your books don’t fall into the genre I generally read.” He shrugs lightly.
Is that supposed to be a trick answer?
“Mom, would you stop doing that with your eyebrows! You look funny,” he says with a grin, shaking his head. Before I could respond he returns his attention to the book and raises it to cover most of his face.
As I’m contemplating on how to win my son over with my next book, I hear hurried footsteps.
“Every word, every line I read, mom!” Pipes up my younger one as she storms in with a book of mine in her hands.

“Every word, every line I have heard, mom! When do you publish a book without first reading it out aloud to us?!” quips my son from behind his novel.
I sigh with bittersweet relief.

So what are you currently reading and are you skimming through, reading every line or a bit of both?

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