Assault the text

By solle on 12/06/2013 — 1 min read

Multiple reading (however slow and cumbersome)

“Admitting that our lives are shaped by fictions…”

At present I am reading John Grey’s The Silence of Animals and Kevin Kelly’s What Technology Wants. Two starkly different approaches to the subject of progress, myth and what it is to be human. To read about human and technological progress in isolation and unchallenged seems lazy and all to accepting. Any questioning of the march of progress and its faculty for solutionism is invariably met with negativity and patronisation. This will not do. I want to work harder to question what is in front of me. It is far to easy to accept attractive arguments that do not require me to alter behaviour or beliefs.

Most importantly, I want to select books that challenge and approach subjects from abstract, opposing or perpendicular directions. All and any angles – and as many as I can handle. At least two. Maybe a third ’softer’ title for calmness or insight or refreshment.

I am not just reading the books at the same time, I am entwining my reading of them. I am assaulting what I am reading, challenging every nuance that is laid out before me. I’m not just working my way through the sentences, the paragraphs, the well argued points. Sweeping them up to imagine I’ve read them – I need to understand them. Otherwise it’s not reading, it’s collecting words. Good writing should go further than just putting words in a certain order for reaction. How fast I read is not important (no one is watching and no one cares). Nor is order or direction. But by reading multiple and varied texts it is easier for me to question everything and makes it more difficult to accept anything. I don’t want to let rust form where long held beliefs and ideas have taken root. I want freedom from normalcy and the constriction of agendas. This isn’t some lecture hall directive, this is a normal day, an everyday. With whatever I’m reading.

I haven’t always done this but I’m trying it more often. Even though I remain slow, I think these reading strategies make for better and more reading. They are helping me read more and read better.

Most highlights are here.


//somewhere in england


I am a user centred design leader working across senior design leadership teams and user centred design operations. I work across a wide range of digital services within the public, private and not for profit sectors.