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Letters

As responsible editors, and in the interests of balance and fairness, we’d like to encourage you to write to us at editors@dontreadtoofast.com expressing any thoughts you might have on the articles published, the site or on books in general.  We love publishing the things you send to us so please do keep them coming.

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Alec Johnson #

    Dear Sirs,

    I’d say this is all going rather well. Thoroughly enjoyed Simon Akam’s piece; that, ladies and gentlemen, is a last line. The Land Rover parts were also probably less useful than the books for swatting at all that exciting insect life.

    And The Man Who Was Thursday, well, there’s a novel you’ve made me want to reread. I am quite taken the idea of it being a book about balance. Much as I dislike bringing the author into things, Chesterton always strikes me, no matter how much I sometimes disagree with his arguments, as being thoroughly balanced and reasonable – as being a decent, sensible, jolly fellow. Someone you’d quite like to take to the pub.

    Oh, and Father Brown is the finest detective in fiction.

    May 14, 2012
  2. Dear Sirs,

    This is just a message to say I am really enjoying Don’t Read Too Fast, it provides a much needed respite from the day to day slug of ship brokerage on a low market.

    The eloquently written word is not something on which much value is placed in my industry and I watch helplessly as shipping grammar steals its way into my personal correspondence. Our daily e-mails are horribly stuffed with abbreviations like ‘udstd’ (understand) which frankly are more easily typed out in full, unless you are dictating to a woodpecker. I am starting to think some of my clients have had the vowels removed from their keyboards and have forgotten how to turn the ‘Caps Lock’ off.

    My experience with Germans away from work has been more than favourable, perhaps due to a (short) time spent in Kreuzberg. However we work a lot with the rather dour Hamburg based ship owning market and among the countless monosyllabic tos and fros there have sprung some quite unintended gems. I don’t know whether the phrase that follows seems normal to your profession but in the rather casual literary world of commercial shipping an e-mail written in this manner is quite rare and prompted a haughty chortle on the desk:

    “Pertaining to the pertinent proviso of the governing charter party the prudent Owners should like to inform their good Charterers that the vessel is foreseen to deliver.” Which is to say “your ship is on the way”.

    German ship owners prefer to refer to themselves in the third person as a matter of course but this struck me as particularly self satisfied. Surely the author was writing at least with a hint of the tongue-in-cheek. Alas no.

    I wonder also whether there is a shorter word for ‘ship owner’ in German than ‘schifffahrtsgesellschaft’ (yes – triple ‘f’). I suspect there is or was at least, but its meaning has been drowned in decades of pompous self-aggrandisement by this small and now not-so-wealthy community of shipping magnates.

    I realise I have meandered a little from my original purpose but in light of the above I would just like to say that it is always with great pleasure that I receive an e-mail alerting me to a new entry in Don’t Read Too Fast, if it only serves to remind me that there is a world outside shipping where the vowel is not interred and a sense of irony is not lost.

    Al-nonymous

    June 27, 2012
  3. Dear Editors,

    Firstly my hearty congratulations on such an inspired idea. I would like to humbly add my thoughts to the collective great.

    Throughout the many excellent posts on this site, the main title, it seems, has yet to be discussed. The much explored question of why one should read, ignores the question of how one should read.

    It seems obvious that how one should read is intrinsically linked to what one is reading. At work, in many professions, reading fast and assimilating much information is key to successful performance. However, in the same way that you do not dress, talk or act the same when you relax, you should not read for pleasure in the same way as for work. I am inspired by the idea that, despite our society’s increasing desire to condense information into i-pad sized chunks, easily and quickly delivered in the same time saving way that a vitamin pill avoids the orange, we should resist the temptation that has been inherent in our upbringing to read quickly, and instead deliberately read slowly.

    How much you enjoy a book is not tied to how quickly you get through it. As the Editors have already touched upon, how fast you read or how much you have read should not be held forth as another status symbol, used to intimidate those who have spent their time otherwise. From what I gather writing fiction takes a long time. Many hours or even days can go into crafting the perfect sentence, elegantly balanced and perfectly enveloped in the bosom of its paragraph. It is almost disrespectful to rush through these tiny testaments of time by reading quickly. You would not run through an art gallery, would you?

    Fortunately, there is a growing trend, endorsed by this site and for which I am a strong advocate, to escape the desire so prevalent in city cultures to live fast, and instead to live slow. Reading a book can be a calm oasis in an otherwise frantic day. To this end, I invite you, as soon as is practicable, to isolate yourself from all means of distraction, find a comfortable sofa and sit down and do nothing but read. Escape. If you don’t know where to start, try some of the reviewed on this site.

    How should you read? As slowly and deliberately as possible and enjoy every word.

    With thanks

    Will Foulkes

    July 4, 2012

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