Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

App Turns 'War and Peace' into a Quick Read

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

App Turns 'War and Peace' into a Quick Read

Article excerpt

In the 1960s, we did our best to take it easy. Relax. And, every so often, feel groovy.

As Simon and Garfunkel sang in "The 59th Street Bridge Song" (aka "Feelin' Groovy"):

"Slow down, you move too fast. You got to make the morning last."

Since I was never a morning person, I was never really interested in making the morning last. Still, "Feelin' Groovy" was -- and remains -- a nice, easy-going song that seemed to define what was, for me, a nice, easy-going period in my life.

But then, almost without warning, the '70s came along, and "slow" suddenly turned into a nasty word.

Are you done yet? Are we there yet? How long are we going to have to wait on this stupid @#$% line?

For some reason, we weren't feelin' groovy, anymore.

"Hey, how's it going? Are you feelin' groovy?"

"No! Don't be ridiculous! Who has time to feel groovy?"

In 1973, by the time I started college, it seemed as if the whole world had changed.

I was eating fast food. I was driving a fast car. I was even using a Polaroid camera -- so I didn't have to wait AN ENTIRE HOUR to have my film developed.

(As Carrie Fisher's spoiled, baby boomer alter-ego famously noted in "Postcards from the Edge," instant gratification takes too long.)

When I began my first newspaper job, circa 1976, I quickly gained the reputation of being the fastest writer in our teeny-tiny newsroom.

"Wow, you're done already? That was fast!"

"Thanks."

(I guess.)

But, just because I wrote fast didn't necessarily mean I wanted people to read fast. In fact, I can still recall how uneasily I felt whenever I'd give friends articles of mine to read, only to have them hand the articles back to me, a minute and a half later.

"Very nice," they'd say.

"You finished it already?" I'd ask.

"Yes."

"Well, you couldn't have read all of it."

"No, but I got the gist. It was very nice. Really."

The gist?

I spent four hours writing words, sentences, paragraphs and you're reading gists?

I was reminded of all this last week, when I heard about the new mobile app called Spritz: a speed-reading technology that can help "average" readers (who clock in at about 220 words per minute) increase their reading speed to 1,000 words per minute. …

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