The number of calories burned reading should be of no consequence to the reader.
For this is not a contest whereby some winner is crowned by a measure of who reads the largest portion of their time.
Nor is a grant given to the one who has the largest quantity of books under their belt.
I am afraid, as Jacobs here, that if you are reading in the same way that you ate your vegetables so many years ago, that you are going at it all wrong.
This is not to say that you can’t learn while you read.
Truth be told, I think a book should be taken at the pace of – and with an attitude similar to – a proper lunch.
If you hate it all, I mean, what’s the point?
So this is what I say to my petitioners: for heaven’s sake, don’t turn reading into the intellectual equivalent of eating organic greens, or (shifting the metaphor slightly) some fearfully disciplined appointment with an elliptical trainer of the mind in which you count words or pages the way some people fix their attention on the “calories burned” readout—some assiduous and taxing exercise that allows you to look back on your conquest of Middlemarch with grim satisfaction. How depressing. This kind of thing is not reading at all, but what C. S. Lewis once called “social and ethical hygiene.”
-Alan Jacobs, The Pleasures Of Reading In An Age Of Distraction
Also published on Medium.