What is Slow Reading?

Library users may wonder about one of our newest reading groups: Slow Reading. “Slow reading describes my practice of looking at a text very closely in order to appreciate nuances of language and hence of meaning,” says Ellen Lambert, author (The Face of Love: Feminism and the Beauty Question) and White Plains resident, who holds a Ph.D. in English from Yale University. Lambert taught literature at Manhattan’s Dalton School for over 25 years (and intends to start a tutoring service for high school students.)

“In our discussions of short fiction, we often read particular passages out loud. We then examine them in detail and consider how they relate to the story's larger structure. It’s also a way of honoring the beauty of a particular author’s writing.”

Lambert, who is finishing her own book on slow reading, says that the term “invokes what the ‘New Critics’ of the 1940s and 1950s called ‘Close Reading.’ But with this term I also want to signal my affinity with the contemporary ‘Slow Food’ movement, because great art, like a great meal, nourishes us in so many ways.”

Readings can be found in the following sources: The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction, 8th edition; Nancy Culpepper by Mason; Going Away Shoes by McCorkle; Everything I Never Told You by Ng; Oliver Kitteridge by Strout; and online sources.

Here is the fall schedule:

⧫  September 9: “The Conversion of the Jews” and “The Defender of the Faith” by Philip Roth

⧫  September 23: “The Open Boat” and “The Blue Hotel” by Stephen Crane

⧫  October 7: “Shiloh” and “Nancy Culpepper” by Bobbie Ann Mason

⧫  October 21: “The Intervention” and “Going Away Shoes” by Jill McCorkle

⧫ October 28: One Book, One White Plains selection, Everything I Never Told You, by Celeste Ng

⧫  November 4: “Pharmacy” and “The Piano Player” by Elizabeth Strout

⧫  November 18: “Starving” and “Tulips” by Elizabeth Strout

⧫  December 9: “Basket of Trips” and “Ship in a Bottle” by Elizabeth Strout

⧫  January 6: “Security” and “River” by Elizabeth Strout

The Monday programs are from 2:00-4:00 p.m. in the Library’s first-floor Community Room (next to the café). For further information, email ellenzlambert@gmail.com.

Steve Cohn

Categories: Authors & Books, Book Discussion, Events, Featured, and Homepage.


  1. Carol Weintraub

    This looks wonderful! Are the sources for the readings available through ” Libby”? I could’t find The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction throgbh ” Libby”. Thanks, Carol

    • kthornton

      Hi Carol, the following readings are available in Libby: Going Away Shoes, Everything I Never Told You, and Olive Kitteridge. I would suggest contacting Ellen Lambert via her provided contact info to see if it’s possible to get the Norton readings elsewhere online.

    • kthornton

      Hi Linda, you’re welcome to attend as many sessions as you can. We suggest attending all but that’s no necessary. We have a parking garage to the left of our main entrance. Parking is $1 per hour.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *