This might be the most exciting thing I’ve seen on the Internet in five years: Spritz reading. By breaking down reading materials into one word at a time, the software allows you to read 500+ words a minute with virtually no practice or training. I tried their sample and it seems to work.
Unfortunately, it looks like they’re far from having any books online that you can Spritz. When they do, I have a few long-winded authors to Spritz through.
I’ve never been a big fan of speed reading, though. Part of my dislike might stem from my natural reading speed. Although I often get bogged down in a text (thinking about the substance or wondering why a certain stylistic usage is correct), fast reading is apparently one of my gifts. I didn’t realize it until college, when friends studying around me would notice how many pages I had read in, say, the last 45 minutes and commented on it. So in that regard, speed reading probably never appealed to me because I never felt like I needed it.
But most of my dislike stems from the parenthetical above: you ought to stop to think about the substance of what you’re reading (and maybe even the prose itself). You ought not speed-read a literary artist like Dostoyevsky. You can’t speed-read poetry. It’s malpractice for a lawyer to speed-read a contract. At some level, it’s probably sinful to speed-read the Gospels.
Reading isn’t supposed to be a chore. It’s an inter-active art.
That being said, speed-reading definitely has its place. If they start to put newspapers into a Spritz format, you can count on me subscribing.
Heck, Spritz might be the thing that saves newsprint. By putting their publications into Spritz format, the big boys–New York Times, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, etc.–could attract new subscribers. I know I’d be far more inclined to subscribe to a publication that allows me to Spritz it . . . since I rarely find popular prose worth pondering.Bookmark it: del.icio.us | Reddit | Slashdot | Digg | Facebook | Technorati | Google | StumbleUpon | Window Live | Tailrank | Furl | Netscape | Yahoo | BlinkList