Sometimes, I might read too fast. I’m a naturally fast reader, and normally don’t think anything of it. Until I pick up a book I read on my kindle. When books are on my kindle, they don’t seem big. Just a few swipes more, and you’re done.
Then, you get the paper copy. And it’s gigantic. Your brain screams, HOW!?! How did I even read that in one day? Or night? Or afternoon?
Order of the Phoenix is one of those giant surprises. I read the Kindle version in one afternoon/evening. Six or seven hours of reading and it was done. Then I pick up the actual book, and guess what, that thing is HUGE. Nearly 900 pages long.
How did I read that it in less than 10 hours? No idea. Well, I do have some clue. Straight reading for too many hours.
Less you think this is an isolated case of madness, I have even more recent examples. Friday, I picked up Ruin and Rising, a nearly 400 page long book. I finished dinner at Chick-fil-A around 6, settled into a chair, and read. At 8:30, the book was done. 2 and half solid hours of reading, 400 pages devoured.
So, is this a good thing? Is fast reading really a bright idea?
I’ve read quickly for as long as I can remember. I might be an expert on it. I know there’s some pitfalls, and some upsides. You’ll probably disagree with me – that’s ok. (But only if you tell me why)
To know the plot!
So this is the main reason why I read books so quick. I just want to know what happens. Who lives, who dies, who tells their story. Intentional hamilton reference. Yep, I was singing it.
I don’t like being in suspense. Not for a whole book. Or an entire book series.
I don’t like risking falling in love with characters who are killed off. Lousy answer, I know. And if I read super fast, I’m not going to become too emotionally attached. At least not in the first read. I’ll let myself really feel the characters a second time through.
Rereading isn’t annoying
If you read really quickly, you don’t tend to mind rereading. Why? Because you didn’t spend a long time learning the book, sol learning more about it isn’t annoying. In fact, you probably should reread the book, just because of all the little details you WILL have missed reading sofas.
Of course, I know nothing about missing any details. #photographicmemory Not really, but I like to pretend I know everything about every book I’ve ever read.
If you know a book so well by reading slowly, why reread it? The point of rereading is getting to know a book better. But if I take a long time reading it in the first place, I don’t know that I’ll need to reread it. Maybe this is just an excuse.
After all, I’m not sure I’ve ever really slowly read a book. So I don’t know about this reason.
So, yes there are downfalls to reading too fast. One, no one ever believes you. You really finished your homework? You really read that book tonight?
Yes, I’m not lying. I like reading. I don’t need, or want, to lie about my favorite hobby.
Also, it’s super hard to understand slower readers. Though I know I should. And I’m trying. I really am. But please, read faster. Beccause I want to talk about the book with you!
But besides the general lack of belief, there’s some other real reasons reading too fast is not the BEST idea.
Ok, this is really, really hard to admit. But you don’t catch everything. Or if you do, you forget it.
Taking Order of the Phoenix as an example. Three things I totally missed
Why Harry could suddenly see the Thestrals
So, Thestrals are a big deal in the story. Especially toward the very end. But I totally missed why Harry could see them. I knew Luna could, and she told Harry why.
But I eventually had to google it, because I just could not remember.
Luna and Neville Friendship with Harry
Luna and Neville are suddenly friends with Harry. That threw me off. I was reading so fast, I didn’t pick up on their relationship growing. And then they were fighting together? When did they even become buddies? I knew they were part of Dumbledores Army, but the whole army didn’t try to fight Voldemort together. Why Luna and Neville?
I must have skimmed this part. Umbridge arrests Harry, Snape refuses to help, and Hermione leads everyone into the Forbidden Forest.
Then Umbridge is gone, and they fly off to the rescue.
What happened again? Did Umbridge die? No, she shows up in book seven. Ergh, why didn’t she die?
There’s probably a whole lot of other details I missed, but these are just three big ones. And if I had been reading it slowly, I might *cough* would have remembered.
There’s no thought about the plot
When you’re reading super fast, you never stop to really think through the plot. Until the book is done.
Right now, I’m reading Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. I read 176 pages in one sitting, and stopped. Completely stopped.
I put the book down, went to bed, and attended class the next day. All without touching the book again.
And I found myself thinking through the plot. Was the angel the girl’s dad? Why were the monsters raising the girl?
What’s with the bone necklace?
What are the 26 languages the girl knows?
Ok, lots of questions. I’m a journalist, it’s my job to ask questions.
And most of the time, I don’t think of questions till after I finished the book. I’m not wondering how things are going to turn out. No genuine, day long, suspense.
This is a new experience. But I like it. Trying to guess what happens is fun. And if I’m wrong, the author is doing a great job. Guessable plots aren’t fun. But working through possible plot angles is intriguing and engaging.
And now, the important question –
Are you a fast reader like me? If so, you might know, it’s very hard to slow down. To force oneself to read slowly. Agony.
But I’ve tried a few ways. Some work, some don’t.
Read two chapters each evening
Because you can’t read just one chapter. Ever. It just doesn’t work that way. But reading two chapters is helpful. Enough to be more than one, but not beginning to read it all. Three chapters and I nearly can’t stop. But two is a better place to actually stop.
Read paperback instead of Kindle
Kindles are lovely. They make reading at 2am very convenient.
But I also don’t realize how much I’ve read with Kindle. I look down, and boom, 80% done. And why not just finish when I’m already that far into it?
Paper reminds me how monstrous a book really is and how it should be impossible to read a story in just one day. Should be.
See all this paper? You need to take your time reading this one.
Don’t read new releases at midnight
If I start a book at midnight, chances are I’ll finish it. My brain is overstimulated, so sleep becomes impossible. The story just keeps me awake.
And new books, well, they are very hard to put down. The combination of Kindle, reading, and late hours is disastrous.
So, I’m not planning on ever pre-ordering new releases on Kindle again. I’ve done it once, and read a 500 page book in 5 hours. And went to sleep close to 6am. Bad idea. Very bad. Yes, I also was up by 7:30 for a 9am final. you read that right, final exam. And I made an A – reading = smart.
Instead, I’ll preorder a paperback, realize how monstrous this sequel is, and read a chapter or two at a time. Think about the story. Savor the details. Grow with the characters.
At least, that’s the plan.
And it’s working, so far.
Well, maybe. I’ve picked up Tower of Dawn and read only 200 pages before having to attend a scholastic meeting. Since the rest of my evening is crammed with homework, it’s impossible for me to read more. And I have an 8am class so not reading past midnight. 🙂 Update: I finished Tower of Dawn before finishing this post. About 4 hours over 2 afternoons.
Are you a fast reader?
Which do you prefer – reading super fast or very slowly? Or maybe I should ask which type of reading annoys you the most? Do you plan out a book and buddy read with people? I’ve heard this can help you read books slower. I did once – and accidentally finished the book in 3 days. it was a 3 week buddy read! Opps…
Which books could you not put down? And did you finish them in record time? It seems like every book I pick up is irresistible… that’s why I’m reading it so fast. Apparently, I jsut choose really good books to read.
What advice do you have for trying to read books slower…
and why should I read books more slowly?