Saturday, August 28, 2010

Slow down, take it easy!

Reading too fast is one of my biggest habits, and one of my biggest faults as a reader. I can't control it! It's feels natural for me to flip through the pages at high speed. But sometimes I wonder if I'm truly grasping everything from a book. Am I getting all the messages? Is everything sinking in?

I don't know why it is, but I feel a small sense of victory when I finish a book or even complete a chapter. It's not that I don't like the book, it just feels like I've accomplished something and I'm advancing at a good pace. It's a shame, though, because I'm sure this has a negative effect on my reading sometimes. I often wonder if I would have had a deeper connection with the characters if I spent more time truly understanding them. Some books, though, are just begging to be read quickly! Take mysteries, for example. So many of these books are too addctive to put down. Why do they do this to us?

A lot of readers have huge, huge TBR piles. Especially when you have books from publishers that are waiting to be reviewed, speed reading is probably your best friend. It worries me that the subtle aspects of books, the metaphors, the themes, might be getting lost. I can't speak for us all, but I feel like that sometimes. So, as of today, my goal is to take time while reading. I want to fully immerse myself in the book and not be concerned with time. I want to savour it!

Do you find yourself reading too fast sometimes? Do you feel pressured to finish books quickly? Are you getting the most out of every book?


pussreboots said...

I read naturally fast. When I start to feel pressured to finish I take it as a sign that I'm not clicking with the book.

Alissa said...

I've always read really quickly. The only time I read slowly is if I'm not enjoying the book and finding it hard to finish. But I don't really feel pressured to finish books quickly - I just prefer to finish them quickly.

Linna (21 ♡ pages) said...

You've hit the nail on one of my habits that I worry about frequently-- it happens to me most when I read thrillers, or really-hard-to-put-down books like The Hunger Games.

Although when you're let down by books in your tbr pile, it starts to feel like a task to be completed. I'm always looking for that next book that will profoundly affect me like The Book Thief or Jellicoe Road did, and those are the ones I savour as slowly as possible. :) And then I feel sad when they end...

Melissa said...

I've always been a bit of a speed-reader. I remember my teachers in grammar school telling my parents that I read faster than anyone else, but they were worried I wasn't absorbing it all. I definitely have to force myself to slow down haha :)

caite said...

I am not a terribly fast reader, and I am not concerned about it. Sure I would love to catch up on that TBR pile, but if I like a book, I don't really want to rush through it.

GMR said...

You know, that's a good question you raise and something I was discussing with someone earlier today. It seems that regardless of my enjoyment of the book, the basic storyline stays with me....BUT, if I really enjoyed a book, the characters stay with me as well...not just their personality, but their names (odd as that may sound). There is a MG series recently I read and I can pretty much recite the characters listed in it....I enjoyed it. On the other hand, a YA read I recently finished....I can't even remember the lead characters first name! Slowing down is part of the answer I suppose, but the 'insatiable' part of me many good books, so little time! ^_^

Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

i read kinda slow, ESPECIALLY if I really love a book. I have to read every word!!

Alison said...

Sounds just like me. I read way too fast - picking up phrases and sentences at the expense of words.
I wasn't a particularly fast reader growing up, but going to law school changed the way I read. I can now blast through books in a way I never could before...but I tend to miss the details. So I need to re-read.
Alison Can Read

Marce said...

I don't have that problem, I'm a slow reader.

I have a friend that speed reads and I have to tell her which books I want her to really take in. She doesn't even look at chapters if they are titled, eg Tomato Girl, I had to say please read them they add to the enjoyment of the book.

Juju at Tales of said...


Sometimes I get so anxious to find out what happens next that I don't take the time to pause and relish.

Najela said...

I definitely read way to fast some times. That's why I use my own summaries to see if I actually grasped what happened.

If a book is really engrossing, I'll read at a normal fast speed. Sometimes I'll skim just to get ahead if a book is a little boring.

I figure if the book was good enough for me to savor, I can always go back and reread it.

Aths said...

I'm a slow-slow reader. Boo! Esp during the first quarter of a book, while I wait for it to grab my attention. That doesn't make me grasp the metaphors or the themes of the book that easily, because it's not that I sit and read. I'm too restless so I keep moving around. I wish I read faster. That would really help me put a big dent on my TBR!

Anonymous said...

I am most definitely guilty of this, oh my goodness. I read very quickly, and I always wonder what I'm missing.

In fact, one moment that I missed that I can point out is in Harry Potter Book 7, when two characters finally kissed, I completely missed it, so eager was I to get to the end.

I really try to slow down but I almost always fail at it. I just love reading too much.

Emidy (Une Parole) said...

pussreboots - Yes, that's so true! When I'm enjoying a book, I don't think about finishing it fast. It just happens.

Alissa - Same with me, I've always read fast. And with bad books, it goes either way: either I read fast to get it over with, or I read slowly because I can't handle it!

Linna - I know, some books are just sooo good that I read quickly without even trying!

Melissa - Haha! It all started back then, eh?

caite - That's a great way to be. And I feel the same way! There's no need to rush a good book.

GMR - There are so many good books! Sometimes that's the reason why I read so fast: I can't wait to get on with the next book.

Carrie - I wish I was like that! But sometimes I do slow down a bit when I'm reading really good books.

Alison - Exactly! At times I absorb the big picture, but not all the same things.

Marce - Wow, she even skips over the chapter names? That's a sign you've got to slow down!

Juju - That's it! And I guess that's the power of really good books.

Najela - So true! And I do that too sometimes. I skim over boring books.

Aths - I wish I read slower! Cause then I would probably appreciate more of the details. It's hard to tell, though!

Sarah - Aw, I know the feeling! Sometimes you keep thinking about what other books you've got lined up to read, and it affects the one you're reading right now.

Elle said...

Yep, I'm guilty of speed reading. I think it depends on the book though. If it's particularly poetic, I'd want to slow down and savor each word.
It also depends on where I am in the book. When I first start out I'm determined to read, understand and experience every word in every sentence. But when I reach the climax, I don't have patience for that anymore. ;) The pages then fly by...
Truthfully, blogging also has a say in it. You want to read faster so you get to finish quicker so your blog gets updated. But, I don't want my blog to have such adverse effects on me. :D
So glad for your post, it has made me want to slow down!

Lucia said...

I read at the pace of a snail, although often 2 books at a time. I can read faster but I often lapse back into my comfortable pace. It is possible I'm just lazy, but I don't think much is missed from speed reading.