You’re Reading too Fast!

I remember when the final Harry Potter book was released, and heaps of my peers suddenly had their copies sitting with them on their desks. They had brought them to read on lunch breaks and while waiting for the teacher. I felt a pang of jealously that they would be getting to parts before I was, but the idea of reading at school appealed to me as much as going naked to school did.

I preferred, and still do, to keep the enjoyment of reading a book alive as long as possible. This was the last time – the last time – that I would ever be reading a Harry Potter book for the first time, and I didn’t want that experience to be over in a day or two. I wanted to keep the last-first-time going for as long as I could. So, I read my copy while eating breakfast, then put it away for the day until I came home again, and then I had to stop myself from reading too quickly. I couldn’t stand the thought that in no time at all, the book would be read and there would be no more Harry Potter to look forward to.

Actual photo of me excited to read HP in high-school.
Actual photo of me excited to read HP in high-school.

I’m still the same with books. I tell myself to take a break so that I can have an extra day with the story and the characters. I want to keep them with me for longer, I want to keep living in their fictional world for longer. Why would I want to hurry back to reality? Why would I want to rush through something that means I will then have no more of it to look forward to?

When reading a great novel, you can wake up in the morning wondering about what you’ll read that day. It’s exciting and comforting – ‘oh I have my book to look forward to!’ When your day is going to consist of school or work and you don’t particularly enjoy either of those things, the knowledge that waiting for you at home is an awesome book is one of the best ways to power through those boring events. Even better is when it’s winter and you know that when you get home you can slip into pajamas, sit by the fire (or heater, for us paupers who can’t afford dead trees to burn) and pull out the novel you’ve been thinking about all day.

The smug looks of “I finished this first” soon fade when they realise that the story is now all over, there’s no more to look forward to, they’ve made the fatal mistake of reading a whole book in one day. Maybe they prefer it that way, but I just can’t let the enjoyment end so quickly.

How do you like to read – speedy or slow?

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27 thoughts on “You’re Reading too Fast!

  1. I’m a fast reader but it always takes me ages to finish a book! I only read before sleeping, so it’s always a very short time because nromally I’m very tired from a long day and my eyes keep shutting themselves.

  2. I have always been a slow reader. Reading a book for me over two weeks is speedy. My favourite part of the day is being on a tram where I get to read. With the job I have at the moment because of split shifts. I get to do this four times a day. If I didn’t have this escape on my tram ride to and from work. I would not know what to do… A tram journey without a book is just miserable… Thanks for your post!

    1. Oh reading on a tram is good. Especially if it’s a long ride. Best way to block out everyone around you. I used to put in headphones and read at the same time just so the music was white noise if the tram was full of loud people.

  3. A mix of both, depending on what I’m reading and what else is going on in my life. But generally quite fast if I love/am intrigued by the book.
    I will be interested to hear what you make of Wolf Hall. I’ve almost bought/borrowed it once or twice then been put off by comments/reviews. Though I’m sure I’ll read it eventually! It has had such a mixed reception, over here in the UK anyway.

    1. I had a look at the reviews on goodreads, which is generally a mistake haha, and it was a both 1 star reviews and 5 star reviews and not a lot of variation so I’m not sure what to expect.
      I’ll let you know my verdict 🙂

  4. I take the slow savouring route, often helped by not having a lot of time to read in any case, thanks to general day-to-day stuff (work, eating, worming the cats… that kind of quotidian glamour). Mind you, when I do get the chance, either at a weekend or on holiday, the rare joy of being able to power through a story in one big chunk and entirely lose myself in the end-to-end experience is an absolute joy.

    1. I have to admit that it does take a bit of effort to slide in my bookmark, close the book and walk away for a bit.
      I’m starting to think from these comments that I might be the only one who chooses to draw out reading time haha!

  5. I’m a really speedy writer, which is good and bad sometimes! I like being able to get through, but then sometimes I get to the end and think… I should have savoured that! Then I’ll probably just read it again.. This post has made me want to read HP again! Haha. Beth

  6. I’m a speed reader–but that’s just how I read. Having said that, I go back to my favorites time and time again, in between other books. There aren’t too many books on my book shelf that I haven’t read at least twice.

  7. I don’t know, I think that reading a book in one day, or a short amount of time does have its virtues. As time passes you lose the connection with the story or simply forget some things. But in one day you get to see it whole, intact by any meddling thoughts, you don’t lose any experiences. But to each his own.

    I remember when I got the sixth Harry Potter book I read for some 10-12 hours straight until it was 4 AM and finished the next day. If you’d told me to stop, extend the pleasure, I’d probably throw the book at you :). But then, self-control has never been my strong side.

    1. Haha I didn’t dare suggest to anyone to slow down in case they did just that!
      I like to read short books in a short amount of time, but even then for me that could be 3 days. I guess the only thing I’ll read in one sitting are short stories or novellas.

      It’s funny, the only time I have self-control is for this. Everything else, none at all haha

  8. For me it depends on the book. There are some stories that are so easy to read and I find myself finishing them within a day. Others are a bit heavy and I take my time with them so as not to feel overwhelmed.

    I admit I read the last Harry Potter book in a day. I was alone at home, it was summer and I just spent the day reading from the moment I woke up till I went to bed, occasionally stopping to go to the bathroom or grab a snack. I was so excited about the ending that I just couldn’t stop!

    1. Oh yes, I forgot about easy ones. I’ll read easy novellas and (of course) short stories in one sitting.
      That sounds nice though, I think if I’d received my copy in the holidays I would have been quicker with it, but being in school made me need something to cheer myself up with after the day haha.

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