Because I get through so many books – 147 last year – people often assume I’m a fast reader. But I don’t think that’s the case – although admittedly I’ve never measured it – more a matter of devoting a lot of time to reading (and for some of that time I’m asleep). On the odd occasion I’ve read the same book as Mr A, he seems to finish sooner. But neither of us read as some people do, scanning the page as a whole rather than consuming it bit by bit, sentence by sentence.
Although averse to rushing a book, I’m not one to dawdle. I’m sure the reason I’ve never got into poetry is that I can’t stop myself approaching it like fiction. I enjoy author readings but, when it’s just me and a poem, the voice in my head won’t linger over the words.
Pace could also account for my reluctance to read non-fiction. Or is that a poor excuse for my lazy brain? I need to slow down if I’m to comprehend new and potentially complex concepts. At my normal speed I can get to the end of a chapter and nothing’s gone in.
I could say the same for intensely-plotted and many, although not all, epic novels. If there’s too much detail, an excessively twisty-turny plot or a surfeit of characters, I might not take it in. And thereby miss out on the story. Likewise books with Russian characters where you have to pause and pronounce every syllable in order to remember who’s who.
I wonder if most of us have a reading pace that feels most comfortable. It certainly applies to other areas of my life. Generally a faster-than-average walker, while I can slow down to accommodate other people, I tire faster when proceeding as a tortoise rather than a hare. So how about you, do you have a preferred reading pace? Are you able to be flexible and alter your speed according to the type of text?
At my normal pace, and a soupcon of skimming, I’ve read and reviewed twelve novels this month. After expressing concerns last year about not reading enough books by women, I’m pleased to report it was almost an all-female set. But The Wall was such a fine fit for the last flash fiction challenge, I had to allow a token male. However, it was a woman author I added to my favourites list: In the Full Light of the Sun by Clare Clark, based on real events concerning the possible forgery of van Gogh paintings, is a beautifully written and poignant tale of self-delusion within the art world set in Berlin, with fascism on the rise.
Click on the image above to see all this month’s reviews. You’ll find my other posts on reading here.