Perhaps it’s through the discovery of other bloggers and their impressive ability to read at what seems to me a superhuman speed which has caused me to become so self-conscious? Either way I have recently become increasingly concerned with how much I’m reading and at what speed rather than what I am reading and if I’m enjoying it. Strange isn’t it? Surely reading should be carefree and relaxing? Does it really matter about much you read?
These are the thoughts that I have being musing with since beginning my blog and so eventually I decided to give speed reading a chance. I’ll confess to high hopes because the idea of reading two books a week from my usual snail pace of one was very tempting.
Initially I really struggled with ‘speed reading’, in life I’m known for analyzing situations and this seems to follow through when reading. Poetic prose and deep metaphors get my full attention and I can never move from one sentence to another without fully understanding the last. I suspected that it was this acute attention to detail that slowed me down so much and so I brought the subject up with my more swift friends.
The idea that I spent so much time trying to understand the full meaning of each sentence baffled my friends, ‘why waste so much time?’. But I’d always thought skipping through idea’s and sections that I didn’t comprehend was cheating?
Forcing myself to give this ago I adopted the rule that if I read something that didn’t quite click for me the first time, I would re read it once, maybe twice and then move on regardless. My worry was that this would spoil my connection with the book and sully how strongly I bonded with the writer. Yet it in reality I learned that so long as I didn’t do it with every sentence I still managed to understand and appreciate the book. In fact a certain pressure was lifted and I enjoyed the book more from my own perspective instead of trying to figure out every little meaning of the writers.
Skipping the incomprehensible has definitely sped up my reading but only marginally, so I forced myself to plow through at an even faster rate and it was then that I started to notice a detachment to the books I was reading. When putting my book down for the night my first thought wasn’t ‘wow that was incredible’. No personal observations of the story sprung to mind. Instead it was ‘Ok I read 50 pages there, must read another 100 tomorrow and then 100 the day after and eureka that’s a book in 3days!!’. Brilliant but where is the emotional connection?
Currently I’m half way through both The Shadow of the Wind and The Secret Life of Bee’s and after a harried and rushed start I’m giving up on speed reading in favor of taking my time. It’s giving me reader’s indigestion. Books shouldn’t be rushed or forced in my opinion, they should be devoured as slowly as you like, taking your time to digest and absorb each delectable page.
Off course that’s just me and a small part still envies those that can speed read but I’m giving up on that in order to try and get back to just enjoying books for what they are.
So what about everyone else? Are you a fast reader, blasting through page after page at a super sonic pace? Or are you a slow reader who likes to take their time? Do you even care or does it just not factor into your mind? I’d love to hear how everyone else feels about it and whether or not you’ve changed your reading habits.
…Now back to those wonderful books.