download.jpgI have long been aware that one’s ability to read books at a steady pace and to get ‘er done is not dependent on the speed of your eye movement or the amount of text you can take in at one time but rather is is directly related to how well you can focus your concentration. Naturally your comprehension and memory are also enhances by staying focused.

I was a senior in High School when I began to experiment with various methods of improving my reading speed. They even had a reading lab where you could pace your reading by having a mechanical shutter close-off sentences at controllable speeds. Everyone cheated, of course, the winner being the person attesting to the fastest reading speed. If I recall, there was a rumor that someone had reached supersonic speeds … but that was just for a paragraph or two that the machine presented in a limited fashion.

I remember trying to calculate the speed at which the pages would have to be turned in order to make such astronomical speeds possible.

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Popular Hits of the Showa Era

RyuRyu Murakami, is one of my contemporary “go to” writers. He’s very good but perhaps more important, he’s very versatile and although his works generally provide a representation of life in the Japan of today, sometimes he writes fantasy, sometimes horror, sometimes hip-hop counter culture. Ryu Murakami is also a talented film maker.

We met Ryu earlier with his scary/gory/upsetting novel Audition. Popular Hits of the Showa Era is almost as violent but the violence is more stylized and less ritualistic. Here the story is of a group of young men who are not exactly friends but they regularly meet to try and find some excitement in their lives. The weekly routine eventually becomes getting drunk, having a rousing game of Stone-Scissors-Paper, and engaging in an elaborate Karaoke show on a deserted beach in the middle of the night.

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