I decided to read Frankenstein, by Mary Shelly, (should I say the full title?) Frankenstein; or the modern Prometheus. There are many reasons I chose to read this, primarily because I know the original story was radically different than the old Hollywood movies. Also, because Mary Shelly created an everlasting meme from her story. Everything from monsters to genetically modified crops.

While I was reading this, I found my progress to be very slow. I’m not a speed reader at the best of times, but this was becoming ridiculous. As I reflected on the words, I began to realize why I was so slow. The vocabulary used, and the construction of the phrases were more akin to the Victorian era, and not the twenty-first century.

The secret to reading works like this is to not race through the words. As a reader you need to forgive yourself for slow reading and in your mind apply yourself like a formal English gentleman. It may take longer, but it’s a lot more fun.

Casting my mind back to other classic writings, I thought of Shakespear. His writings were theatrical and more poetic. Whilst reading Shakespear in school, it had to be read slow, if only to enjoy the rhythm and his unique descriptives. Reading it slowly enhanced his words.

Then my English literary teacher introduced us to Geoffrey Chaucer. “Open your books to page one.” We were told. Are you kidding me? I couldn’t even read it, never mind understanding it. “Please sir, can I do a double class in mathematics instead?” I asked because I had to get out of there.

“Shut up Wozny! Sit in the front row and behave yourself.”

Chaucer turned out to be some of the greatest writings I ever encountered. Our teacher instructed us with a simple trick; read it in an old English accent. The closest I can describe is Somerset or Cornwall accents, similar to pirate slang. The entire class took off, and we competed amongst ourselves to read aloud.

So, what is the point of all this? I’ve led you through part of my literary appreciation for what reason?

Reading is a remarkable thing; in a sense, it is not natural for us. Modern humans are about 300,000 years old, while we’ve only had writing for about 5,000 years. Yet look at how the written words guide you along, suggesting to you how fast or slow to read it. I have read some passages (Stephen King) which made me jump out of my seat. Other comical books can cause me embarrassment while I burst into uncontrollable laughter.

If you are a writer, bear these thoughts in mind. The art of reading is the direct result of the art of writing. I cannot begin to advise how to construct such lively text, I have enough challenges of my own.

Remember, your words must be read.