Have you ever experienced the tyranny of the page number? I have—often! I most often am caught in its trap while reading a non-fiction title, but it sometimes manifests itself even in the pages of a storybook.
The trouble usually starts when a vague uncomfortable feeling creeps upon me while reading a particularly interesting passage. It would be nice to stop and think about it, and yet, my eyes begin to skim faster and faster over the page. I begin to feel boxed in—helpless in the grip of words. My breaths become shallow; if I don’t stop and come up for air soon, I know I’ll be sick. And yet, the page number drives me on. There are only a few short chapters left. Those troubling passages can be thought out later. Those mysterious word definitions can wait. If only I reach the end soon, I’ll be able to cross another thing off my list. Is this what drowning feels like?
If only I could find a way to keep my eyes down to a reasonable rate of speed. Maybe then I’d be able to truly learn.
If only I could learn to equate time well spent with lessons learned, to be able to spend time savoring the pleasure of a well-turned phrase. Why is it that the page number still drives me on?
This is the problem that plagues me. This is the malady of a bibliophile.