by Caren Crane
Last night, my daughter and I watched "The Return Of the King" for, like, the hundredth time. She commented how much she loves the music and the beautiful voices singing. Huh? As I've mentioned before, I don't really notice movie soundtracks. But I listened as we watched this time and realized she was right. The music set the tone for each scene and rose and fell with the action.
Now, I read all the Lord Of the Rings books (along with other Tolkein books) when I was a young teenager. I didn't have the benefit of visuals except the ones in my imagination. I certainly had no soundtrack to cue me as to what was happening. I couldn't imagine ever having the technology to bring Tolkein's gorgeous, epic tales to the screen in a way that did them justice. Back in the day, I constructed the story in my head, the way I always had. The way I still do today.
My husband doesn't read this way. He sort of speed-reads - scans the words and picks up the main ideas. Not just for boring non-fiction stuff, either. He treats his favorite fiction this way! My reading is a fully-realized, three-dimensional process. To me, skim-reading would be like sitting down to a gourmet dinner and just sniffing each succulent dish as it passes by. Or maybe chewing the food without swallowing. I want to savor each syllable, linger over the word choices, delight in the turns of phrase.
When I told my husband that, he looked at me like I was a squirrel a few nuts shy of a load. I learned then that not everyone "reads" like I do, creating voices and accents for each character and picturing each scene, outfit and piece of furniture. Just as some people need a soundtrack to heighten their movie experience, I need to create the world in the book at hand to really enjoy my reading.
What about you? Do you read aloud in your head or simply skim the words? Do you provide a soundtrack and visuals for your reading or just grab the main ideas? I'm always fascinated by how different it is inside everyone's heads!