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.
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?