"There are two very important reading skills," my lecturer, Sandy, told us told us on our Methodology course, "the first is Skimming, where you run your eyes over a whole text to get the gist of it as quickly as possible. The second is Scanning, where you are searching for a specific piece of information and you run your eyes down a page until it jumps out at you.
"Then there are two more skills no-one tells you about. One is Scumming where you flick through an novel looking for the naughty bits which you then read slowly and carefully."
(And here I laugh, remembering a copy of Colleen McCullogh's The Thorn Birds which I once borowed from Malay College library.
It should have been called The Torn Birds because an earlier reader had gone through and cut out all the pages where the action hots up a little. Frustrating! One moment the characters were about to kiss, the next, the action was somewhere else entirely. I imagined my censor somewhere sleeping in the college hostel, with all those torn pages under his pillow, dreaming the naughtiest of dreams and plotting his life of future passion.)
"And finally," Sandy went on "There's the skill of Skinning. (Much loved by academics, by the way.) This is where you read someone else's writing very very carefully simply so that you can discredit them as thoroughly as possible in your own writing and score points."
Well friends, the same thing is happening to me here on blogland. Day after day I'm being well and truly "skinned" by another blogger who wishes only to discredit me. It's been going on for months now and it's a little wearing, to say the least.