Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Discussion Post: I Don't Take My Time Reading Anymore.

So many of you probably know that I am usually a crazy planner when it comes to my reading schedule. I am taking part in ARC AUgust next month, an event hosted by the lovely ladies at ReadSleepRepeat that I look forward to every year, and I was kind of overwhelmed by the fall releases I was thinking about reading. It's not just me, right. I mean I see you all getting excited about the September and October releases and stressed about how you are going to read them all. Samesies.

So with all the new releases coming out and my crazy reading schedule all I want to do lately is devour the books that I am hoping to read and then quickly go on to the next one. Now before we go any further I want to make something clear. I'm not a fast reader. I just read very often. I listen to audiobooks at work, I read on the bus to and from work, I read all night most days. On average I read about 100 pages a day, 30 pages while I'm commuting to and from work and then 70 at night. But then on weekends I honestly spend most of my time reading so I can finish what I started during the week or read an entire new book.

But since I started blogging I feel like the amount of books that I read in a year has exploded. Instead of reading 3 books a month I'm now reading 3 books a week. So have I started reading faster? No, I don't think so. I mean it could be that I'm reading more YA and therefore it takes less time to finish it, but I think that it's more than that. I think that now instead of taking the time to sit with a book and immerse myself in it, I just devour it.

I know some bloggers and readers who, when they are reading an amazing book, have this desire to make it last as long as possible. When the last book of their favorite series comes out, they don't want to read it yet because they don't want it to be over. I am the exact opposite. I need to find out what will happen as fast as I can. I need to know who lives, who dies, who tells their story (yup I went there). I'm way too impatient for that. Seriously, I have never been known as a patient person. I can't wait for anything. Plus I hate surprises. Often when I start reading and things get crazy, my anxiety starts flarring and there is no way that I will be able to slow down while reading this book. I can't wait, waiting's for suckers (you're not a sucker, I'm sorry for that. I just got carried away. See this is what happens). I must read as quickly as possible because I must find out what happens in the end.

This is not something I never even realized until about six months ago when I started reading Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson. I couldn't stop reading so I bought the book in multiple formats, including the audiobook so I could listen at work. I needed to just devour this book whole. But then after I finished I started reading Mistborn: Secret History and despite it being a novella I was reading it extremely slowly. I wanted to make that last and it was messing with my head so I couldn't plow through it. I didn't consider the fact that my usual style is to not slow down until I wasn't doing it that way and then it clicked. I devour books, I don't take the time to sit with them.

Benefits to this Style of Reading

Well for one thing, it lets me read more books than if I took my time. There are so many amazing books out there and there is no way I could read all of them. But this really allows me to read more of them. Like I said before, the amount of books I have read since I started blogging has gone up substantially. I'm a few books away from reading 100 books this year and three years ago that seemed impossible. I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that I am moving quickly from book to book. I can marathon a whole book in a day and a half, something I never thought possible before I started blogging.

It also lets me stay current. This isn't a criticism of bloggers or the blogging world but so much of it is about timing and trends. There's a hype contingent as part of this world. Many people will read books ahead of release and there is this desire to do that. But even if I can't read it before the book comes out, I want to read it as close to release date as possible. I think it's just this desire to be part of the conversation. So much of the talk tends to be all about something new and exciting then a few days later we're onto the next book. Which is honestly understandable considering that every week a stack of interesting new books is coming out. I have found myself building up this backlog of books I want to read if I am taking my time with a book.

Plus it helps me keep up with the TBR. No, I don't necessarily mean the books that I want to read, I mean the books that I plan to read. You may know that here on the blog I do themed months where I read a bunch of books around a certain topic. Each month I set a definitely reading plan and a maybe reading plan. Moving quickly from book to book and devouring books as quickly as possible helps me stick to that. It also helps me stay up on my review books. I don't get a lot of books for review but lately I have been getting more and more, usually through Netgalley because I am addicted to checking it (seriously like 3 times a day I'll look if anything new is added and I'll request all the books). If I can power through a review book than I can finish it before release date which is always the goal or finish it within a few days. And it keeps my Netgalley percentage pretty high, but seriously it will never be 80%.

Problems With This Style of Reading

Well for one thing, you really can't savor a book. This seems obvious but it goes deeper than that. My tendency to read a book very quickly means that I don't often let myself be fully immersed in a book. I'm more worried about finding out what will happen next that I don't allow myself to take the time with what is happening then. It's like I'm not living in the moment with the book. I'm not really allowing myself to think critically about why something is happening because I'm feel as if I'm reading only from a superficial level. This isn't to say that I don't pick up on the larger themes of the book or things like foreshadowing and clues to the mystery but I feel like I'm just not as deeply involved in the book as I used to be.

But I think my biggest problem with speeding through my books is that I forget things. I mean this in two ways, first I forget things when it comes to what happened in a previous book in a series. This is small in the grand scheme of things because often it has been a year or more between reading one book and the other so naturally you are bound to forget some things. I have been trying to do more rereads this year, so far it has been in anticipation of upcoming sequels and series enders, but preparing for those is not the only reason I feel like I need to reread certain books. The fact that I don't take my time with a book means that I need to reread to remind myself about what happened in the book. Mostly I'll remember big picture stuff but not the why or how about what happened.

But that lack of remembering what happened also then extends to my memory about the enjoyment of the book. Frequently what will happen when I think back on books that I read is that I will remember a feeling and not remember specific reasons why I loved or hated the book. Like even when it comes to my favorites of the year and books I gave 10 star ratings to, a month later I won't remember exactly why I loved a book so much. I mean I can easily just read my review again and refresh my memory but still, it's a problem.

Just like anything else, there are benefits and problems with this style of reading. I don't know that I am going to change it any time soon, but I think the big thing is that I am more aware of it so I can slow down a little bit and take my time reading. This month has been one of my slower months for reading and I think that's a good thing. I'm hoping in the future to not be so caught up in having to finish a book for review and be more concerned about taking my time to read it.

What about you? Do you take your time to read a book or do you fly through it so that you can move on to the next one? Do you think reading quickly is a good thing or a bad? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!


  1. I switch between devouring and savouring books now and then, and I am a very fast reader though... I am trying to make sure I'm better at remembering why I love books so much, but since I tend to go with gut feeling, sometimes it's hard to point to specifics as you've said!

  2. I think I am the same. I am a fairly slow reader too - I can read only one page per minute usually, sometimes slower. But I also read book after book as quickly as I can, so I can get through more books. I agree that it helps to plow through the piles, but I also have memory issues. If I don't write my review right away, I'll lose the sense of the book even if I've made notes to myself. But I think some of it is aging as well. :)

  3. You: "I'm not a fast reader."
    You: "I only read about 100 pages a day."
    Me: *cries*

    Seriously though, I'm so slow compared to a lot of you! I also tend to devour books when I really get into them though. Honestly, I could read a lot faster if I actually read more, but Netflix is a problem. I only take my time with books when I'm having a hard time with them. For example, I've been working on Six of Crows for almost two weeks and it's killing me to take SO LONG! Great post!

    Tracy @ Cornerfolds

  4. I just recently did a post on my reading habits and style. I too am a fast reader and a big fan of audiobooks.

  5. I have noticed this too since I started blogging/receiving ARCs -- there are so many books to read that I just have to get through them so quickly and spend all my spare time reading. I feel guilty for re-reading now, which I don't like. Great points and great discussion

  6. You read SO fast!! I'm beyond jealous!

  7. You just made me feel so much better about how I read, because I read exactly the same way! I am seriously doing a happy dance because I forget things too, but I want to get to my next book of reading goodness! LOL!