Not that long ago, I devoured five books in as many days. This week, I’m almost finished with one. What gives?
To be fair, two of the books in my five-book week were selected because getting up and going into the other room would have meant disturbing a comfortable cat. To be specific, this cat:
So you see my dilemma. Done with the hardcover I’d brought, I had only my Kindle app to sustain me, and, oh hey, look, I forgot I had these two books on hand, and one is the sequel to the first, and they were both contemporary category romance, which, for me, can be a quick read. This week’s book is a wee bit different from category romance; it’s a big, thick historical, sweeping from tenth century Alba (we’d call it Scotland) to Ifriqa (we’d call it Africa) and there is historical detail a-plenty. There had better be, as there are well over four hundred pages in this book.
Personally, I love tons of historical detail, and a big, sweeping saga is exactly why I chose this book in the first place. In the second place, it’s an older book by one of my favorite authors, and I’d only read it once, on its original release, which would be, if it were a person, old enough to be causally leaving pamphlets about driver’s ed on their parents’ desks and/or dinner plates. Heck, probably be forwarding texts, in today’s parlance, but that’s not imp9rtant right now.
What is important is that I am finding, on this re-read,that I remember both more and less than I thought I had retained from the original read. For one thing, I didn’t remember the hero’s name until I checked the back cover copy. I’ll admit there’s a measure of studying this book, this second time around, because I went into this re-read with a plan. For the five-book week, my only goal was to have a good time, and that probably has something to do with the speeds with which I read five, and have been reading one book.
There are a lot of things that can affect the speed with which a reader makes their way through a book, be it the discovery of a brand new read, or the umpteenth visit to an old friend. Sometimes, n a re-read, we can go faster, because we already know what happens, to whom, and how, and when. Other times, we want to make this story last, either because we’re taking the scenic route, to luxuriate in lavish descriptions, or stop and think about particularly delicious romantic moments, or take another loop around a high-speed chase scene. In between leisurely moments, we may skip sections that don’t hold our interest as much as others, because we want to get to the good stuff.
What, exactly, the good stuff is, is going to vary from reader to reader. Could be we’re reading an entire twelve book series for a particular character, and scenes that don’t have that character can go kick rocks. Other times, we may want to savor every moment, catch tiny details that mean a lot, or even hunt for Easter eggs only the most devoted readers know to look for in their favorite author’s work.
There are practical concerns with reading speed, too. Some of us only have so many minutes in the day to do our pleasure reading. Kids or parents need attention, work beckons, we’re living our own romance novel with our real life partner, or what have you. For those of us who utilize the library system, due dates have a huge impact on what gets read, when. If I’d rather read Book A, but Book B is due in three days, and there’s a wait list behind me, you’d better believe Book B is the story of the hour, and Book A is going to have to wait its turn.
Venturing into the world of audiobooks this week reminded me of another factor in reading speed. When I scroll through the library’s audiobook app, as I do frequently these days, the pertinent information included in the book’s description is how long it takes to listen to the whole thing. I find this useful. First, it’s kind of a challenge. I know it’s not possible to “race” an audiobook, but if I figure that if a book is X hundred pages, and takes seven hours for a professional narrator to read, then I can figure on seven one-hour sessions, and I’m done.
Not that it’s always going to go that way. There are times, like on my five-book week, when I blast through a book in pretty darned close to one sitting, and, more importantly, I am neither a professional narrator, nor reading the book out loud (well, usually not.) There’s also the fact that I don’t keep track of how many hours I spend reading a particular book. I do keep track of the number of pages read, as well as title, author, and genre.
Logging the actual time spent reading could be tricky, at least for me, though I am sure others out there may find it a breeze. That’s because, often, my reading is done in snatches and bits; long store lines, waiting for family members to get ready to head out the door, nights when sleep is flat out not happening, a couple of pages while my companion runs into the rest room, etc. Maybe there’s an app for that; could be interesting.
So, dear readers, I turn it now over to you. Do you find that you read some sorts of books faster or slower than others? Why, or why not? Pull up a chair in the comment section and tell us all about it. There’s room for everybody at this table.