Several things I found delightful: (a) a description of why reading well includes using a (preferably print rather than digital) dictionary. I loved this because it read like a description of someone I know, and also because it noted a few of the new words that the OED has recently included. I also found delightful (b) the notion that reading is inherently dialogical, that is, a conversation between author and reader. Neither, in Mikics’ view, can or ought be passive. Neither agreement or disagreement is the goal, connecting is. And, taking one another seriously. Self-reflection (c) is a crucial part of all this. And, the emphasis on self-reflection (and transformation) is another delight in the book. This includes reflecting on why certain books or authors just annoy us. That some annoy us – but that ignoring the annoyance is not such a good idea – itself delights. I also loved (and I mean loved) the section on writer’s revising their works (d). Totally reassuring. In addition, you may want to know that Mikics himself revised the title of his tome; perhaps thinking about the change from Lost in a Book: How to Recover the Pleasures of Reading to Slow Reading in A Hurried Age itself teaches us. Mikics’ reflection on revision encourages stepping a bit out of any given version to think about the spaces between.
I also liked the moments of humor that poked up out of Mikics’ text. The author’s point is not that reading is entertaining or fun, but that it is important in a variety of ways. And yet, he does seem to remember that humor is important as well.
All in all, Slow Reading in a Hurried Age is well worth slowly, patiently, reading. It is, in some ways, like liberal education itself.