Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday Salon: How Fast Do You Read?

Sunday Salon
I read this article in The Guardian this week about the speed at which some people read, and whether it is possible to absorb great literature when speed reading.  The editorial says that if an author (Flaubert for Madame Bovary is the example that springs immediately to my mind) agonized and tore his hair out while writing to ensure that he chose just the exact right word, then shouldn't we as readers give him the courtesy of spending time reading the words he chose instead of rushing over them?

There are many bloggers who read over 100 books a year.  There are challenges set up for reading over 100 books, or to read books by 50 new to you authors, or read at least 50 books from your library.  I can't participate in those because I don't read quickly enough.  I am probably one of the slowest-reading bloggers I know, as I never have difficulty keeping up with my reviews; I only read one or two books a week, so it's easy to review all of them.

That said, I don't know how you fast readers do it!  I often feel the pressure to read faster, do more, keep current with everyone else.  I read for pleasure, yes, but at the same time, I feel like more recently as I read, I wonder how soon I can finish a book and move on to the next one.  If it takes me longer than I expect to read a book, I start getting worried.

And that makes me sad.  I don't skim books, but I wonder if I am missing nuances and important ideas. For example, in The Blade Itself, by Joe Abercrombie, the beginning of the book mentions Shanka and flatheads, both of whom are enemies of one of the characters who is escaping a massive battle scene.  First, I thought the Shanka and the flatheads were the same thing.  Then I wondered if maybe the Shanka were people and flatheads were  some sort of weird biting animal- what I was reading and comprehending just didn't make sense with what I was reading.  I went back once and skimmed the section again to see if I could figure it out.  Still didn't really get it.  So then I just kept reading, hoping, as I often do, that I'd just get a spark of "Oh, now I know!" later on in the story.

Why did I do that?  Why didn't I keep reading until I figured out the difference (or lack thereof) between the Shanka and the flatheads?  I just gave up.  Is it because I was worried of spending too much time on one aspect of the book?  I don't know, but the possibility of that being the reason has my mind.

And why am I often so scared of picking up a really long book?  I am intimidated by big books often, not only because they're hard to carry around with me but because it takes so long to read them.  But why does that even matter to me?  If I just ignore the longer books on my shelf (and there are many), then what am I really saying?  That I appreciate authors making the effort towards writing and publishing a staggering work of writing with complex characters and plots, but... I don't want to read it if it takes too much time on my part?  If I had been like that in high school, I'd never have read one of my favorite classics, The Count of Monte Cristo.  How many other really long, amazing books am I missing because of my propensity to shy away from the door-stoppers?

I don't know if I'm the only one with these habits, but they bother me.  I don't like stressing out about my reading, or about the speed of my reading, or worrying about how soon I can read and review a book so that I can start the next one that's staring down at me from the shelf.  Reading is still fun for me, but it just has so many new aspects to it that didn't exist before.  I am not so naive as to say those will go away if I want them to, but I do want to bring back more of the magic.

I hope that in 2010, I feel comfortable slowing down, really savoring the books that I'm reading (if they're worth savoring).  I have taken steps to do this.  I am starting a read-along partnering with one of my friends in St. Paul, MN in which we pick a classic to read together over several weeks and discuss it together over email as we go along.  Our first book is Nikolai Gogol's Dead Souls.  I am doing the same thing with Zibilee for the book The Bone People, another book that really intimidates me (and I hope to do more with her since she's awesome).

I want to challenge myself with my reading- read more books off my shelves, read more books out of my normal genres, and read more classics and non-fiction- but I also want to bring back that connection to the book, to the author's words, and to my experience of those words.  I've been neglecting that part.  I just want to stop rushing and enjoy myself.

What about you?  Do you have a similar problem, or do you like the pace at which you read?


  1. I do read fast, but I always have. But I still only read like 3 a week, and that is when I am not busy.
    But yes I do skim, I just take in a sentence adn a page fast. i cannot read slow

  2. I can read fast when I want to (or need to) but I prefer to keeping my reading to one or two books a week so that I can enjoy the books I have read. There are some books I read straight through until I am done but usually that means that I have to go back and re-read them because I have missed things. I've figured out that if I want to enjoy the nuances of the book then I need to slow down. I admire those who can write long thoughtful reviews of several books per week but I just can't

  3. The only time that I read too quickly and feel the way that you describe is during the read-a-thons. I hate that, and during this last read-a-thon I tried to consciously make my reading speed stay normal, but I couldn't do it. My mind flips a switch, and suddenly I can only read quickly and 'lightly' if that makes sense.

    In normal reading situations, I don't consider myself a particularly fast reader. I'd guess I average 50-100 pages/hour, depending on the book. But the reason I read is to inhabit another world, so feeling rushed would probably result in me not enjoying my reading! Even when I'm not reading as much as I did this year, I don't really feel that 'next book' pressure very often, unless I'm already impatient with the book I'm reading because it's not clicking for me (in which case, I really should simply abandon it, but I'm awful at doing that!). The connection you're talking about is why I read, so it's definitely the most important thing to me. :)

    That being said, I almost always have multiple books going at once (usually 1 audiobook, 2 nonfiction, and 2 fiction), so that might alleviate some of the 'shiny book over there' factor. If a book really grabs me, I'll read it straight through, but usually I find that rotating my reads helps keep them fresh. I just make sure that the books are distinct enough to not meld, and of course I alternate fiction and nonfiction!

    Oh, and The Bone People totally intimidates me too! I put it on my Booker Challenge list, but I'm still watching it warily from the corner of my eye. LOL

  4. Don't be intimidated by the Bone People - it is a fantastic book!

    It doesn't sound as though you are slow at reading - 2 books a week is the 100 books a year that you mention. I read slightly more than you - normally about 3 books a week, but like to read each book carefully too.

    I am sometimes put off longer books, but I still try to read them. I find it helps to read smaller books at the same time - sometimes taking me several weeks to finish the longer books, but if I fit a few shorter, lighter (normally YA books) in between chapters then I don't find myself frustrated by the length of time it takes me to read those 1000+ pages books. I hope you manage to find the time to read some longer books in 2010 - they are normally the best in the end!

  5. I've read close to 130 over the last couple of years. That really required me to put my mind to it--meaning, I don't watch as much TV or see as many movies. I spend a lot of down time at work reading, and I read at home (because I want to!). My friends think I read quickly, but there are many bloggers that eclipse my numbers--I have no idea how they do it. It's a combo of the type of books, the amount of time they have to read, and what kind of concentration they are willing to dedicate to the book.

    I have a tendency to put off long books as well. Most of what I read last year was YA fiction, which also aids in pumping up my total count as they are typically really quick reads. I think it's easier if you mix up long and short. It's really easy to get discouraged by a long book! (even if it's excellent).

  6. I read quickly, but I don't skim (unless it's a book I just want to get done with and there are parts that are horrendous to get through). However, a lot of what I've been reading this year is stuff that is easy to read fast. Next year, I'm making a conscious effort to read at about half the rate of this year. Already, November and December are way slowed down than normal, which is great.

  7. Hi.. I have been subscribing to ur blog but never commented . I was a lurker :)

    I don't read fast , not 100s in a year atleast. I read at my pace. Earlier I used to read classics which would take me months on end to finish but I loved every minute of it. Now as I have moved on to recent trend of YA and contemporary , I find myself finishing books faster.

    I think its because of the style of writing. YA books are fast paced . They have plots that make readers read them in one or two sittings . I think with this genre I might come close to 4 books or may be five books a week but never more than that :)

  8. Even though I've read over 100 books this year, and *can* read fast, I usually choose not to. It really depends on the book. My numbers are heavily inflated with easy books this year. I used to ONLY read literary fiction. I only read about 50-75 books a year, because I like to enjoy the prose. YA moves so much faster, so it's nice to read that once in a while too. I can read very quickly, but usually it's just not worth it for me. I like to savor things. :)

  9. If I'm reading a difficult or complicated book, I'm lucky to read 25 pages a day. I think so much of speed depends on the type of books you read. I go through the fluffy stuff pretty fast but I don't remember it a month later or wouldn't, without looking at my review! So I guess, for me, anyway, it depends if I'm reading just for distraction for the moment, or for something more lasting and influential.

  10. I think there are many of us 'normal' readers out there- readers who are lucky to finish one or two a week. I'm definitely in that camp. I do know that lurking pressure that you describe when a book seems to be taking a little too long. I think the pressure we feel as bloggers is much self-imposed, though. I hope that in 2010, we can get back to the root of why we blog books in the first place- the sheer enjoyment of a life in books.

  11. I'm happy with teh pace at which I read. If I read any faster I start missing things and pretty soon I've read whole pages and have no idea what just passed before my eyes. it's not worth it. I'd rather understand what I'm reading and get something out of it than speed by.

  12. Anonymous12/20/2009

    I read pretty fast, but the number of books I read in a week varies depending on how much time I have (and how much time I spend on the computer). But I've never been an in-depth reader...I try, but I always fail. Symbolism and theme tend to go right over my head, and unless it's a knock-out book, I soon forget most of the details. I'd love to read more closely and retain more of the book, but I think at this point, my bad habits are here to stay.

    Besides, reading does make me happy, and transports me to other worlds, and that's the most important thing to me.

  13. Nice post. I wrote a bit about this in my own Sunday Salon. I have found that the pressure to finish sometimes overtakes my enjoyment and my hope this year is to enjoy the journey.

    I don't tend to avoid long books just to have something to post about, although I understand the temptation. It's just that all my favorites are tomes, so for me that would be nonsense. Still, I do wonder if that desire to post lots of reviews is one of the reason there's so much YA in the book blogosphere. It's often great, but I do scratch my head at its predominance.

  14. Blodeuedd- Yes, it's hard to NOT read quickly, I agree.

    Zee- I only read one or two books a week and I think I am reading pretty quickly! I am not sure if maybe I just am more distracted during my reading and therefore don't concentrate as well.

    Eva- Yes, I have considered possibly reading more than one book at a time. I think in January I will be doing so, just because of the classics readalong thing. And Heather and I will let you know if The Bone People is less intimidating than it looks!

    farmlanebooks- Oh, good to know! I think that is a book that will be worth the effort to read, but it's good to have a partner. I am definitely not reading 100 books a year. I guess I am actually NOT reading 2 books a week. Sometimes it takes me much longer to read a book. Wolf Hall took me well over a week, and I wasn't reading anything else at the same time as that one.

    Laza- I think you're right; I read a lot, but I also enjoy the other stuff I do. It's hard to strike a balance. I'm not disappointed by the number of books I've read- I just don't want to feel rushed.

    Amanda- That is great! I want to read slow next year, too. It's like the slow food movement, but for books :-)

    Shweta- Thanks for commenting! I'm glad you did. I think classics do take longer to read just because you don't want to miss any of the aspects that make them classics. And I agree with YA, it can go much quicker.

    Lu- Savoring is good :-) And I think that switching up genres gives people a good way to experiment, too. I hope to do that more in 2010.

    Rhapsody- That's a good point. It depends on WHY you are reading the book. I always hope to get a lot from the books I'm reading, but sometimes a book hits you and sometimes it does not.

    Bookshelf Monstrosity- I'm glad I'm not the only one who reads "slowly" with only 1 or 2 books a week! I hope we can take back the book pleasure next year, too.

    Marie- Yes, it can be very confusing to not understand a part of a book. Agreed!

    Softdrink- I think as long as you get enjoyment from the book, that's all that matters. I think that's what authors want. I would, anyway, if I were a writer.

    Teresa- I don't think I avoid long books just so I can post on something, but because it just seems like a huge commitment to make to a book when there are so many other shorter ones out there that I might enjoy. But I hope to read at least a few of the big intimidating books next year. You make a good point about all the YA blogs out there. I thought maybe it's because a lot of younger people are blogging, but you could be right on!

  15. That's a tough one. I know I am a fast reader, but I think that's just how I read. Sometimes the book is so good and I want to see what happens next, or the opposite, when the book is boring and I just want to get to the end, I will read more quickly. However, I don't think I am missing anything.
    If a book is particularly long, or has higher vocabulary, I do find myself slowing down to try to understand it, but it is not a conscious decision to do so.
    I understand about feeling like you have to keep up to other bloggers, some of the blogs I follow read a lot! I just go at my own pace. You can also start posting progress reports instead of a whole summary. Then at the end you can talk about how your opinion/feelings changed as you went a long. Good luck!

  16. I am a fast reader when compared to people in my offline life. If comparing myself to my fellow book bloggers, I'm very slow. I read about one book a week. Sometimes more, sometimes less. I usually read every word and I still feel like I miss things sometimes.

    I'm reading a big book right now (over 600 pages) and because it's nonfiction, it's taking me even more time than it might if it were fiction. I find myself periodically checking to see if I'm closer to the end. I hate doing that. I want to read and not worry about page count or how fast I am reading.

    I don't like to compare myself to others when it comes to the amount of reading. In some respects it is hard not to. But I do truly believe in quality over quantity. I just have to remind myself of that sometimes.

  17. Jenn- a progress report post is a really good idea! I'll keep that in mind for the longer books I read.

    Literary Feline- I don't like to compare myself, either. I don't think I worry that I'm not reading as fast as other bloggers, just that I'm not reading fast enough to get through my TBR at the rate I want to. Which is dumb, as the books aren't going to change!

    I think once I get through my current book, I'm going to close out the year with a massive non-fiction volume (that, I hope, is interesting).

  18. Really good questions! I read pretty fast, but not as fast as a lot of people. And with school, I just don't have time to read a ton of books. I space my reviews out for that reason, so then I lower the pressure on myself to constantly have more books to read.

    I think speed depends a lot on the book too. I read YA really fast, but tend to read other books much more slowly. I usually go back to figure out stuff I don't understand, but not always.

    I also get intimidated by giant books. They just feel like they'll take so long so I skip them sometimes. I did read Infinite Jest this summer which was a giant book, but it really slowed my reading pace down (because it took forever to read, and because I had to read it slowly).

    Anyway, that was a sort of rambling comment. I guess i just had a lot to say!

  19. I have never been intimidated by long books but I do find myself putting them off a bit now because of the blogging. That annoys me and I definitely need to just choose what I want to read and go with it.

    I'm not a speed reader but I can read quickly when I have a quiet house -- especially late at night. I don't feel accomplishment in numbers of books read in a year so much as the number of really good books that I managed to find in a year. If I read 200 mediocre books in a year, it would be a dreadful waste of time. This year, I have marked over 50% of my reads as ones that I would definitely re-read. That's what matters to me.

  20. I used to go through at least four books a week. That was when I had four kids living at home, I was working also, but still could go through the books.

    Lately though, I can't seem to get through one books a week. I blame the internet, cable (Doctor Who) and my grandchildren who force me to play with them (ha! their both under three years old).

    I signed up for a challenge that gives me 13 months to read 55 books. I might be running behind on it. Since it started in September 9, I've read 6 books. It's been 3 and a half months and I've finished six books. That's poor even by my recent pace of reading. Now I blame stress, arm and shoulder pain, along with the internet and cable and the grandchildren....I hate to think of what it'll be like when I'm in my sixties or seventies. My biggest fear (besides dying) is losing my sight and not being able to read books on my own. This is a depressing sounding comment - I'm not really this down!

    I would like to pick up my reading pace though. I have over 100 books in my tbr pile - although I've lost interest in some of them.

    Just read to enjoy your books, even though I don't get through the books like I used to, I do enjoy reading them.

  21. You should read at your present comfort level no matter what that is. Sometimes I think that blogging creates a certain subjective reality of what constitutes a good reader or blogger that is offered so forcefully and repeatedly that it takes on the appearance of an objective reality. Slow or fast, short or long books - pick what brings you happiness and satisfaction. Your insights here are a delight so you must know what appeals to you and your reading sensibilities already. Happy reading!!

  22. Anonymous12/20/2009

    I've always been a fast reader since I was a child and sometimes I would skim books. But recently I've discovered the joy of reading slightly slower depending on the book. And sometimes I don't want the book to end so I will try and savour it. I think my reading habits have changed with time, and I definitely spend more time on the computer and watching dvds which encroach upon my reading time (which I'm not so happy about). And I also find that my concentration span has also decreased (probably due to the internet and tv too!) But I still enjoy reading, and when I don't I'll put the book aside and not force myself. To me, reading is all about pleasure. It's great to read a post about this as I think it's something that we have all pondered upon at some point in our reading lives.

  23. Kim- Good work on Infinite Jest! I think I will try to close out the year with a long book. So many people are busy at that time of year, I think I can take a long blogging break and no one will notice :-) I think I'll be reading a fabulous-looking Georgian history book.

    Kristen- I'm annoyed by my propensity to avoid long books because of blogging, too. I really hope to change that in future. It will be hard, but I've said before that I started this blog for my own benefit, and I want to make sure I keep that in mind. And I agree- a 50% planned re-read rate is IMPRESSIVE!

    Mardel- It's annoying how much life can intrude on reading time, isn't it?! I also have many books in my TBR pile, many that I wonder now why I got or what first interested me in them. But just recently, I read one that has been sitting on my shelf for so long and LOVED it, so I don't want to get rid of any.

    Frances- Well, thanks! I think I read books that interest me, too. I think there are just a lot of other books out there that also interest me that I do NOT read. Not even out there, really- on my shelves! I agree it's a comfort thing and an interest thing, though. So I hopefully will find a winning balance soon.

  24. You seem to read at a pretty good clip to me. Among my family and friends I read quickly, but I have found that compared to my blogging peers I am slow as well. I usually read two books a week which come to just over a hundred a year.

    My number were higher this year but I think audio book and middle grade and YA Fiction accounted for the 50 book bump up that I got in my reading. I also tried to deliberately find more time to read and I made sure to have a book handy when I traveled by train or even if I was at line in the grocery store or the post office. The reading minutes really did add up.

    I sometime shy away from reading longer books because I have been reading a lot of books that I found to be unneccesarily long. I love savoring long books with good characters, but just because a book is long does not mean that it shouldn't be tight at the same time. I think a lot of long books can tend to start meandering and it makes it harder for me to stay on top of reading them.

  25. I'm like Literary Feline -- a fast reader compared to people in my real life, but slow compared to other book bloggers. If I start and finish two books in the same week, that is cause for celebration!

    I never cared about the speed of my reading or my knitting until I decided to start blogs chronicling my progress. Even then, I wasn't comparing myself to others; I was concerned that my blogs would sit for two or three weeks without posts because I wouldn't have anything to write about. Still, none of these activities are my day job. I'll get to them when I can!

  26. I try not to compare myself to others when it comes to numbers of books read -- I average only two books a month!

    Also, I've noticed I read more slowly when I'm reading something really amazing. I want it to last forever, so I take my time.

    And it's good to remember it's all for fun. I try to avoid feeling pressured when it comes to reading and blogging.

  27. I also wish I could read faster. Book blogging puts a bit of pressure on reading speed because there's just so many books I want to read. A doorstopper could take me a few weeks. You shouldn't ignore them though, cos there's many good ones out there and I feel you really get into the characters and the story so much more than a shorter book. I think the last chunky book I read (almost 1000 pages) was the Far Pavillions by M.M. Kaye. I think you might enjoy that. Check it out!

  28. Maybe someone should create a challenge about it - Reading for pleasure, not for pressure. =)

    We all just do the best we can, and remember it's supposed to be fun, right??

  29. I'm not a very fast reader either. I read 20 more books this year than last and it still only averaged out to 1 and a half books a week.

    I do like to take my time over the words and process what I'm reading, so maybe that has something to do with it.

  30. I read fast. Too fast. I am always trying to slow down. I set a goal every year of reading more slowly. I always fail.

  31. This is such a great post, I read slowly, 50 pages in 1 hour. When I see people reading so many books I wish I could read that fast, that would mean more books read.

    But I don't stress over it, bcoz that would mean not enjoying what I'm currently reading. Don't worry about it too much, there is always going to be someone who reads faster than you :)

  32. It's definitely important to be comfortable slowing down. I do have a tendency to pressure myself to read fast, but that's mostly because I think of all the awesome books out there versus the average life expectancy :P

    I don't speed read or skim, but the reason why I (used to) read a lot was because my life circumstances allowed me to devote many hours a day to reading.

  33. Anonymous12/21/2009

    I read 2-3 books each week and that's my normal pace, more than 3means Iam trying to finish it out of abligation, which I hate to do...nad reading a book faster means I like the book so much I want to get to the end to see how everything turns out, and reading slower is iam realy dreading it!!!!!!

  34. Nicole- I agree. Some books are way too long! It takes a certain something to write a vivid story in few words. But at the same time, a really lush story can be amazing.

    Dani- I also worry sometimes about my blog being dormant for extended periods of time. But maybe there can just be "update" or non-book review posts, too.

    Marieke- A lot of people have said that, about slowing down with a really great book. I'm the opposite, I think. If I really like a book, I get so antsy and thrilled about it that I just read so quickly!

    Mrs. B- I have Far Pavillions on my shelf! Thanks for the heads up.

    Elizabeth- Yes, a challenge, "Read as few books as you can this year" :-)

    Chris- I think if you really enjoy your reading and the pace of it, then you're doing it the way you should.

    Readerbuzz- I am beginning to know exactly what you mean about that.

    Violet- Thank you! It's true. Someone will always be reading faster or more carefully than me.

    Nymeth- I am the same way! I see all the books on my shelf and think, "I MUST READ THOSE! HURRY!"

    Sumanam- I start skimming if I don't like a book. Either that, or I set it aside and pick up something else.

  35. Anonymous12/21/2009

    I'm not a fast reader, but that's not really what determines how many books I read. It's more how much time to read do I manage, between church, work, family and friend.

    I do occasionally avoid long books. They're a major time commitment and what if I get bored? And there are so many other books calling my name, but sometimes they are more than worth it, I admit.

  36. Anonymous12/21/2009

    I can surely agree with you everything in your post. I am fairly new to blogging and thought I was hot stuff for reading a book a week. Most folks seem to blow past me many times over. I still can't figure out where they get the time. Like you, I began to feel anxiety about reading, trying to read as quickly as possible, selecting skinny books, and not taking time to re-read passages or make notes as I normally would. This for me is no fun at all. I had to make an effort to take my time and read for myself. And most recently I've lined up some chunksters to enjoy. Here's hoping we do savor our books, because if not, then what are they for?

  37. Aarti, I totally get your angst about reading speeds. Often I feel as though I am just too slow to keep up with those that read 3 or 4 books a week, and since I also have a huge selection of books at home, it intimidates me to read door stoppers. I love being able to slowly savor a book, but it does bother me that I don't have much output to show for it review-wise. I think it is a very important thing to remember that an author wants to ensnare you and beguile you with his or her words, not have your eyes just barely skip over them as you read, and I try to remember that when I read. I don't think speed is the point when reading for pleasure, I think it is more about the enjoyment the author creates when casting his or her spell. But do I still worry about it? Yes. I probably always will as well. Often it can feel like a competition to read and review at a frantic pace that matches everyone else's, but it really shouldn't be that way at all. Ah, I can relate, my friend. I do think your ideas about your future reading are great though, and I think maybe slowing down to savor a bit may make a difference for you, as it probably would me.

  38. Hello! I am only new to your blog and I am enjoying your posts!
    As for reading fast, back a few years ago I did a speed reading course and the speed at which I read skyrocketted which has come in handy when I am reading through pamphlets from my local government, or reading through magazines but when it comes to books I always take the time to enjoy the story.

  39. I'm down to the wire with reaching my 100 book goal for 2009, but I will admit that some of those books were short YA novels and poetry books. I'm not reading tomes and I certainly don't usually read more than 2 books per week.

    I say read at your own pace because reading is supposed to be enjoyable.

  40. I read fast. That being said, I'm not afraid to slow down - some books don't lend themselves to quick reading at all! I think not trying to read faster than your natural speed is important for absorbing a book.

  41. Aarti - I don't read nearly as fast as a lot of bloggers I know. I do read fast compared to many of my friends, though. Like you I read maybe a couple of books a week. I never have an issue with backlogged reviews. I do keep track of how many books I read but don't get hung up on the numbers because that can vary from year to year depending on the average length of my books. So far this year, my average is 350 pages per book. I know that next year I won't read as many as this year because I have several really long books I want to read.

    There is a group on Goodreads for folks who want to read 75 books a year - it's been a perfect group for me - a book a week is too easy and 100 a year is not always my goal.

    My primary goal is to read what I want. It's not a contest.

    I like Jenn's suggestion of posting progress reports when I'm reading a longer book. Might have to do that with some of them.

  42. Anonymous12/22/2009

    As a writer, I'd like to thank you for your devotion to savoring words, Aarti. Music to the ears of a writer.

    I'm getting into the classics now, too. Can't wait.

    With respect~
    Corra McFeydon

  43. Anonymous12/24/2009

    I can totally get what you are feeling. I first started feeling pressure to read more books when I started earnestly getting into book blogging.

    I love to read slowly and savor the quality of the prose, and I am trying very hard to hold on to that.

    I also think there are so many mediocre books written in a slap-dash manner, that we readers have also started just skimming through.

  44. I'm slower than most. I could read 1 or 2 a week but I'm either busy or distracted. The last two years, I read a lot of YA so that means more books read. In 2010, I want to read more women's lit and other literary fiction.

    I want to enjoy what I'm reading. I don't have a reviewer shingle out and I don't actively seek review copies so I don't feel the pressure many bloggers feel and I'm glad for it.

    Really enjoyed your post. Thanks.

  45. Anonymous12/27/2009

    I so agree with you about not losing the connection to the book. Every time I chastise myself for not reading as many books as others around me are posting on, I remind myself that I have to submerse myself in the novel, not just dwell on its surface. When I pick up something too quickly after finishing a book, the spell seems to be broken. Does that make sense?

  46. Anonymous12/28/2009

    Everybody reads at the pace they need to read at. I read very fast without skimming. Most books, if I am able to sit down undistracted, I can read in a day regardless of how long they are. The problem is I don't have many undistracted days.
    I think you just need to read at the speed you are comfortable with. Slow enough to take in the story, fast enough that the book doesn't become a drain on your time that you aren't willing to commit to. Reading is supposed to be enjoyable.

  47. Anonymous12/29/2009

    A hand-made trackback since I can’t figure out how to do it the auto way. :)

    I linked this article at my blog:

    from the desk of a writer

    An inspiring read. Thank you for sharing, aarti. :)

  48. My friend Rose just suggested I read Dead Souls this year...and I think I just might!

  49. I can sit down and take three hours to read a short book like Of Mice and Men and take the same amount of time to read 500 pages of nonfiction. For me, it depends on the book.

    That said, your statement of how "I wonder how soon I can finish a book and move on to the next one. If it takes me longer than I expect to read a book, I start getting worried" completely sums up my recent struggle with book blogging. I felt like I had to fly through tons of books so I could have a review to post everyday, so I could be a "great" blogger. And it got to the point where I wasn't enjoying reading anymore.

    So don't worry about, don't put yourself in that situation. Enjoy the books you read and take as long as you need to do so.

  50. Anonymous1/17/2010

    My "normal" reading and I think that of most readers is a book/ week. If I'm absorbed of course I can just read a book in an afternoon. Glad I have no appetite lately because I don't want to get gain wait sitting and reading. I read over 10 books in 2009, however, I did not work, I was looking for a job most of the year. I think once I'm working, things will slow down. And I do not like to skim and most authors appreciate it if you DON'T SKIM and really absorb what they may have spent years writing.


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