I was reading a novel with a notebook and pen waiting for me on the table. Sitting hunched over and squinting my eyes while holding the book with my two hands, quickly flipping through each page I went over the first, last, and sometimes, a few sentences in the middle of each paragraph. I finished the first chapter not knowing the name of the main character, confused about the location, and frustrated that I didn’t take any notes. My leisure reading experience became highly unenjoyable. Was I seriously trying to read a novel as if I were skimming over a research paper? The novel didn’t have subheadings or designated sections for the introduction, methods, results, and discussion. How rude!
I found myself searching the first sentence of each paragraph to find the main topic and then jumping to the last sentence to get the conclusion and transition, and finally, searching the sentences in the middle for details to put the content into context - but only when I thought that the first and last sentences were relevant to me. Instead of relaxing, I attempted to take out structured content from the text with some other motive (ehm, research), leaving me utterly confused for an entire chapter of the novel. However, when I went back to the chapter that I rifled through in my reading, I was amazed and captivated by how the details were concrete, significant, specific and focused, and appealed to all the senses. The author took me on a pleasant journey.
Sometimes we just gotta relax.