Drum ‘n Bass For the Speed Reader

I like to listen to music when I read. Not only does it help me focus, it drowns out the noise around me. Given that I spend over an hour on a train each day commuting to and from Manhattan, I find myself having a lot of time to read. And I make good use of it. I know of some people that can’t stand their commute. Personally, I don’t know what I would do without my “train time” each day. It gives me a chance in the morning to read and prepare for the day. One the way home, I can unwind after a long day of work. Once in a while I find myself staring out of the window as the Bronx goes by instead of at my book. But those occasions are rare. Most of the time I just read.

What I don’t enjoy, however, is trying to read when the music I’m listening to contains English lyrics. The combination of reading English and hearing English gets confusing sometimes. Japanese, French, and Portuguese do not cause the same problems for me, and I have songs I listen to frequently in those languages. I save my English lyrical music for when I walk or exercise.

Usually, my reading music consists of jazz, smooth jazz, movie scores and, when I really want to read quickly, drum ‘n bass. For those that don’t know, drum ‘n bass is a type of music that a friend introduced me to in 1996 that consists of quick break beats and strong bass lines. The reason that I listen to it when reading is because the beat moves so quickly (and usually without any lyrics) that I am able to pace my reading to the music and get through books quicker than I normally would. Although I am not heavy into the underground drum ‘n bass and jungle music and club scene, there are a few artists that I enjoy, especially Goldie (his Timeless album is still my favorite) and LTJ Bukem. In the world of books, there are some that should be enjoyed at night, alone, curled up on the couch with some Miles Davis on. And then there are some books in which you hope to speed read – get the main idea and move on because there is no point in remembering every detail, nor would you want to. As I am currently reading about a book a week, I find that drum ‘n bass comes in handy for the latter.


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