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Topic: How do y'all read so much / so fast?

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Subject: How do y'all read so much / so fast?
Date Posted: 12/12/2008 8:33 PM ET
Member Since: 4/14/2008
Posts: 18
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Hi everyone,


I'm fairly new to this forum, and it hasn't taken me long to realize that I'm a bit of an anomaly among romance readers: I don't read very quickly. In a good month, I manage to finish one book per week, but so far this year I've averaged just two books per month. My best reading year as an adult was 1994, when I finished sixty-something books. That was the year I glommed Barbara Michaels.


As far as I know, I've never been diagnosed with a learning disability. I don't work long hours at a demanding job. I have no children, no pets, and basically no excuses for having such a poor track record when it comes to reading. I love to read, and it seems like I dedicate a fair amount to my favorite activity, but try as I might, I can't rack up as many titles as the voracious readers I encounter in real life and online.


I'd love to know a little more about your reading habits. Do you carry a book with you everywhere, whipping it out whenever there's a spare moment? Do you read during meals? Do you watch any television? Sorry to be so nosy. I'm just trying to figure out how to be a more efficient and effective reader. Thanks in advance for any input you're able to provide!


Take care,


EmJay / Madaleine

Date Posted: 12/12/2008 8:49 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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Hi Madaleine! I read a lot mostly because it's my main activity , other than quilting, and I can take it with me. I work 12 hour rotating shifts and the nature of my work is that I'm busy when the plant is busy(work in quality control lab)so when it's slow or between samples I try to keep a 'light' read handy - something I can pick up and put down (so the erotic romance has to stay home LOL!)

I do try to carry a paperback or two with me(just one if I'm already 'into' the book and know I'll keep reading it) heck my car is usually full of books too..anyways, I read waiting for appointments, at work as I've already said, and before bed usually to help me unwind. I hope to do a lot or reading the next couple of weeks since I'll be on vacation. I still have sewing projects that will cut into reading time but otherwise I plan on catching up on some books I've had in mt tbr for a while.

If a book is light enough or short enough I've also sorta skimmed then re-read if something catches me eye..some books just havea  lot of 'filler' esp the harlequins and such. But I dont' read everything fast...Caine's Reckoning by Sarah McCarty is an erotic romance and over 400 pages and I didnt' um , skip anything there LOL but it took me a few weeks seems like to get through it.

If you're happy and enjoying reading 1 book per week then I wouldnt' worry about it! like my mom when she took up handquillting..her sil(my aunt) is a lot faster than her but I told her it wasn't a race..if she enjoyed the process then that's all that mattered. her worrying over not 'rolling the quilt' in the frame to do the next part was causing her not to enjoy it like she wanted...so now she doesn't worry too much over if s he's slower than other quilters..she just does her thing and likes it. I think sometimes that I get caught up into trying to get through mt TBR that I dont' fully enjoy and savor the books I'm reading..like plowing through a box of chocolates and barely tasting them! :-)

oh, I don't read during meals..I usualy surf the net then or maybe flip through a newspaper if I'm at work(guess that's reading but not a book - might spill something on it!) I dont' watch a lot of tv though I've bought dvds I like that I'll put in when I feel like watching something.

Date Posted: 12/12/2008 9:01 PM ET
Member Since: 2/28/2008
Posts: 2,553
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I don't watch much television. I never take books with me when I go anywhere, but I do read in my spare time at home. I am a stay at home mom now, but if I thought I'd actually get to read more often that way, I'd be wrong! I probably read 2-3 books a week, but I've always been a pretty speedy reader.

Last Edited on: 12/12/08 9:01 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/12/2008 9:58 PM ET
Member Since: 3/1/2006
Posts: 436
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For myself, I'm visually impaired, so a lot of books I have on a little thing similar to an Ipod. I do carry this thing everywhere with me, and I do read when I'm riding to and from school, cleaning, doing laundry, taking a walk, etc.


I have to admit I averaged two or three books a month as well. As I got older I realized it wasn't so much having no time, but my unwillingness to read a little bit here and there. I was stubborn in the sense that if I wanted to read I had to have huge blocks of time. However, as we all can agree on, it's hard to find those huge chunks of time.


It's all a matter of how much one really wants to read, I think. I want to read as many books as I can so I just do it. Everyone goes at different speeds. Find what works best.



Date Posted: 12/12/2008 10:17 PM ET
Member Since: 1/20/2007
Posts: 7,052
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I read at night and I'm a fast reader. I average 5 books a week. I work full time, so every once in a great while I will steal a whole day on the week end- maybe twice a year- and just read.

Date Posted: 12/12/2008 10:45 PM ET
Member Since: 11/5/2006
Posts: 749
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I rarely watch TV, I read instead. I also usually carry a book along with me in the car to read when I'm waiting for the kids to get out of school. I like to read before I go to bed, half the time I fall asleep reading. I think I average about 4 to 5 books a week.

Date Posted: 12/12/2008 10:47 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,669
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I tend to go in spurts.  Some weeks I will read several books.  Other weeks, maybe only one.  I think I get burned out every now and again because I can go several days between books.

I work full time.  I don't take a book with me anywhere, unless I know I'm going to be sitting and waiting for quite a while.  I don't carry a purse big enough to put a book in and I don't want to carry one separately.  I read at night and on the weekends.  Usually in front of the tv.  If it's a show I really want to watch, I have to put my book down because I'll get engrossed in the book and miss the tv program.

I do admit that some books I more skim thru than actually read.  My favorite books, I go back and reread because I know I tend to skim when it's a good book because I want to get to the end faster.  I miss details that way so going back and rereading the book later, I pick up new things I missed the first time around.

Date Posted: 12/12/2008 11:19 PM ET
Member Since: 6/9/2007
Posts: 745
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I'm like Sarah K. I can read 2-3 a week but sometimes, I only manage to read one (like this week). I work full time and take a book with me to read on lunch/break. I don't usually take a book everywhere I go, but I have been known to slip a series romance into my purse--it's a small purse. :) I have a hubby and cats, but no kids so I tend to read when I get home until I have to make dinner, then read the rest of the night. I have the TV on for background noise and since there are only a couple shows I "have" to watch during the week, I don't pay much attention to it.

Date Posted: 12/12/2008 11:23 PM ET
Member Since: 5/15/2008
Posts: 242
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don't have a t.v., and i am a sahm, i read a lot at nite after the kids are bed. plus i carry books with me in my purse. never know when i'll get a chance to read a bit....traffic jam, doctors office, waiting for a train, when the kids are playing at the park....i sometimes read when i eat, only when hubby isn' home tho.  i like rewarding myself with reading time. if i can get part of the house all sparkly...i'll let myself sit down and read for a hour. sometimes if i know i'm gonna lose myself in a book, i make sure my house is clean first......otherwise it just all falls apart around me. :P

Date Posted: 12/12/2008 11:25 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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I'm mostly an at night reader myself.  I like to prop myself up in bed with a good book while the DH is out on the sofa watching TV and the kids are playing their video games.  I'm a stay at home mom too, and I usually do my housework & chores during the day while everyone is gone to work & school.  If I have time before picking kids up from school, I'll read until then, go get the kids, make dinner & clean up, and then the rest of the night I spend reading until bedtime.  I don't watch a lot of TV, unless there's something on we're all watching together, or it's curl up with the DH & watch a movie time.  I average 3 to 4 books a week, but it can be more or less depending on how absorbed I am in what I pick up.  Sometimes I get caught up in something and can burn through it in less than a day, other times it will drag a bit.

Date Posted: 12/12/2008 11:28 PM ET
Member Since: 11/15/2008
Posts: 3,308
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I often wish I read slower, because, especially before I found this site, it would have saved me a lot of money.  I've been reading since I was very young and I sight read very quickly.  It's partially an adaptation to being slightly dyslexic,and the result of lots of practice.  When I get into a book I want to finish it, and can't motivate myself to do much else, so I learned to finish them quickly.   Like Sarah, I read in spurts.   When I'm in a reading mood I can ration myself to 3 books a week (not necessarily new books) when I have exams or other things going on, but 4 or 5  or 6 is a happier place.  When I'm in less of a reading mood I might read 2 books in a week.  I read on the train, sometimes at night and if I have spare time.

I wouldn't necessarily be sad about reading slowly, as long as you enjoy it.  If it were me, I'd just be pickier about my books and read only the cream of the crop :)


Last Edited on: 12/12/08 11:29 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/13/2008 12:29 AM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2007
Posts: 13,223
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My daughter is one of the fastest readers I've seen. Between full-time work at a hospital and full-time school she can still cruise through 4-6 books a week.  I've asked her dozens of times how she does it.  It's a mystery to me.

I read about 3 a week and that's about as fast as it's ever going to get! :)  I waste a lot of time though ... I putter around the house instead of plopping myself down and reading in the daytime.  I can read better at night. During the day if I'm not at work I'm doing things like raking leaves, filling bird feeders, ... all things I don't mind doing but am doing out of obligation and don't exactly need to be done. I have a hard time just sitting and reading when it's light out even though reading is my favorite thing to do.

Oh, and spending too much time searching for books might be a pitfall too! lol

Date Posted: 12/13/2008 12:31 AM ET
Member Since: 1/19/2008
Posts: 14,825
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i'm a fast reader, and can read a lot of pages in an hour.  some books more than others of course, and i'm horribly slow at textbook/technical reading where i'm trying to learn.

i do almost all of my reading at night, and most nights i get in at least a couple of hours.  these days i'm not watching much tv, and i'm even reading through most of the hockey games i'm "watching", and so while over the last few years i average about 20 books a month, the last few i've been getting through almost a book a day (average).  part of that increase is also in reading a lot more romance than i used to, as those tend to go quicker than the sf&f books that are my other main reading choice.  though in December, i probably read about half as much as i do the rest of the year - just too much to do!

most places i don't carry a book with me unless i'm figuring on ending up waiting - like for a dr appt.  but if i'm going to riding in a car (or on public transit) for any length of time, i'll happily spend that time reading.  :)

and as many books as i read, i see plenty of others here who read more than i do!

Date Posted: 12/13/2008 1:56 AM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2006
Posts: 6,436
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I'm a very fast reader and also read during most of my spare minutes, while a passanger in the car, etc. And I work out for about an hour a day and read while I do that, which is usually at least half a book.

But there's nothing wrong with being a slow reader.

Date Posted: 12/13/2008 7:28 AM ET
Member Since: 9/20/2005
Posts: 14,915
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I read on average 100 books a year.  So far this year I've read 101.  I usually always have a book with me, but I don't read it constantly.  I've gotten a lot slower at reading the older I've gotten. 

I will usually read at least 3 times a day though.  I read in the morning right after I get up for about 15 minutes, because it wakes me up.  Then I read for 30 minutes at work, on my two breaks.  I will also read each night before I go to bed.  Sometimes I read after I get home from work, but more often than not, I don't. 

It doesn't matter how many books you read a year as long as you enjoy the books you did read.  :)

Date Posted: 12/13/2008 8:36 AM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 1,131
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I have a at work book, one in my car and in my purse and the one that I am reading at home when I feel like it.

As long as you enjoy reading it does not matter how many or how fast. My son just now started reading at age 22 and he is worried about how slow he is. Told him the same, just enjoy it, numbers don't  count for anything.

Date Posted: 12/13/2008 9:24 AM ET
Member Since: 11/16/2007
Posts: 165
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I'm a speed reader too. I can read a book a day and even 2 depending on the length. I read some during the day but mostly in the evenings after my daughter goes to bed. But I agree with Monika. It doesn't matter how fast u read. Just enjoy!

Date Posted: 12/13/2008 10:59 AM ET
Member Since: 11/11/2005
Posts: 5,238
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The short answer is that I don't.  Read fast, that is.  Compared to many readers here on PBS, I'm a snail.   I do spend more time reading than most, and I listen to audio books a lot also.   So I usually finish 8-12 books a month (which is still NOTHING compared to many of the readers here.)  But I'm also a very eclectic reader, and therefore probably only read 2-3 "romance" novels a month.

Sometimes I feel a little behind because everyone else is talking is talking about a book that I probably won't get to for years, but I get over that and concentrate on enjoying the books that I am reading.  And hey, the good thing about being "behind" in my romance reading is that by the time I report on a book many of my fellow PBS romance readers have already read it and can also comment about it!  And in the meantime I can enjoy reading about books that can go on my reminder list :-)

Date Posted: 12/13/2008 11:25 AM ET
Member Since: 9/24/2007
Posts: 453
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I think it's just one of those things you are born with- like some people are "better" at one thing and others at another.  I've always, always been a super fast reader.  My folks noticed it early on.  I was the one hanging out with the librarian in elementary who was always trying to find more stuff for me.  I think I just kind of "image" chunks of text at a time.  That's the best I can do to describe it.

However I'm astonishingly bad at math!  A little bit ago I had to whip out a calculator to check 16 + 22  because I was having trouble doing it in my head!

Nowdays I pretty routinely do a book a day.  As long as I'm reasonably interested.  I have books out, and sometimes throw one in my purse, but I don't read everywhere.  I probably could get more sleep as reading doesn't put me to sleep so I think I stay up too late finishing a good book.

My husband is a perfectly normal non-impaired person who reads pretty much like a snail. 

Enjoy your reading and don't worry about the pace!


Date Posted: 12/13/2008 11:57 AM ET
Member Since: 4/14/2008
Posts: 18
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Wow, I really appreciate all the detailed and thoughtful responses! And thank you for reminding me that it's not a contest. Now I won't be so shy about admitting in the "what are we reading this week" threads that I'm still reading the same book from the week before! I would like to ramp up my reading, though, and now I have a lot of good ideas for carving out more time.

I've noticed that my mind wanders a lot as I read. If a character or a situation reminds me of someone or something from my own life, I tend to drift off into memories and fantasies of what might have been. I don't know if that's a disorder or just a lack of discipline, but it's definitely a habit that hampers my progress. If I can train myself to bring my attention back to the book in my hand, I imagine that I could probably finish quite a few more.

Next year I'm aiming for 2-3 books a week, but I would settle for being a bit more consistent with the one book per week I manage read in those good months. A number of you reminded me that it's not the numbers that matter, so perhaps I will also set some "qualitative" goals for next year, such as trying out a new romance subgenre, reading the RITA winners in a certain category, or finishing one of the many series that have been languishing on my shelves in TBR limbo.

Thanks again for all your input!



Date Posted: 12/13/2008 12:19 PM ET
Member Since: 1/16/2008
Posts: 465
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I wouldn't say that I am a slow reader; nor am I a fast reader.  I guess I am somewhere in the middle.  If it is a light read, I can whip out 2 or 3 books a week.  If it is a more complex author I can read at least 1and start another in a weeks time. 

I don't watch TV and have a full time job, as well, as a full time mother and wife.  I usally can sneak in about 2 hours a day to read (usually at night). 

And as it has been said; it does not matter how fast or how many you read.  Just reading is a great thing!  Enjoy it!!!



Last Edited on: 12/13/08 12:21 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/13/2008 6:43 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I usually read 2-3 books a week. More if I'm reading a thin Blaze type book-less if I'm reading a thick book.  I'm also a SAHM.  I take books with me when I go somewhere.  If I'm going to have to wait in a waiting room, a line or somewhere-I have a book with me.  Everyday I have to stand at the bus stop and wait for my kid's bus.  I take a book out with me-unless it's raining.

I usually have 2 books going.  I'll have a postable book going that I only read when I can just sit and read.  Then I'll have a damaged book going that I'll read while grabbing lunch or breakfast when it's usually just me. Or if I know I'm going to be um in the bathroom for a few minutes.  Those are the ones I'll also jam in my purse if I'm say going to have the oil changed in my car. 

I'm also a fast reader and I don't watch that much TV. I don't do daytime tv of any kind.  No soap operas or talk shows.  I do TIVO some shows that I watch while folding laundry or dusting or some kind of house work.  DH and I tivo CSI and Dexter. But we speed watch CSI by zipping through commercials and those music montages where they're doing some test w/o talking. DH watches a lot of sports. I mean a lot of sports-hockey, football, soccer, basketball, boxing, tennis.  He even watches rugby and all the extreme sports.  So I sit in the evenings with him sometimes and we cuddle on the couch I read and he watches sports and hopefully rubs my feet.  I tried taking books to the gym but I can't read a book while on the treadmil or elyptical.  A magazine I can read but not a book.

My kid is also older. When she was little I didn't get nearly as much reading done.  But she's pretty self sufficient now. 

I also have a slow computer.  So I'll take my book to the computer if I'm surfing and read a few lines while waiting for my page to download.

I have a little system I use so I don't feel guilty about reading during the day.  Everytime I get, say a load of laundry folded and put away-I can read a chapter or x amount of pages.  Reading is pretty much my only true hobby right now.  I don't scrap book.  I used to do needlework but I was developing arthritis in my fingers so I stopped that.  I used to do crafts but there's only so much you can hang up and give to friends so I don't do much of that anymore.  In the summer I'm more likely to work outside and garden instead of read. 

We go away alot to my inlaws on the weekend. I usually get a lot of reading done there. His dad has a really expensive gaming computer that he doesn't like to let anyone use much. 

Date Posted: 12/13/2008 7:56 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I also wanted to add that is had nothing to do with intellectual capacity either.  My husband has a genius IQ and knows eveyrthign about everything.  But it takes him months to read a book. He probably averages 1.5 books a year.  Now granted his leasure reading is usually a 1000 page book on Greek Mythology or Ancient Japanese War strategies.  He took Moby Dick to read by the pool in Vegas. I brought a trashy romance and a People magazine.  He only picks up a book here and there and never for any extended length of time. 

My daugher is a slow reader. She kept getting poor marks in reading.  I found this odd because at home she was reading chapter books in 1st grade.  But they based most of the reading grade on speed.  I had her tested and she tested 3 grades higher in reading comprehension.  She just reads slow.  Her mind wanders alot and she doesn't like to just sit and read for an hour at a time.

Date Posted: 12/13/2008 8:30 PM ET
Member Since: 8/12/2006
Posts: 1,012
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I read a couple of books a week and probably that is more than I should because I have a toddler and an infant and work part-time. 

I read fast and....I am pretty sure this is the key, I know how to skim over certain parts of the book.  I have a tendency to read dialogue and skip over a lot of the "he said, she said" etc.  The only time I really focus on those parts are when the scene is really really interesting.  I also skim over parts where they think back in time, have dreams about the past, etc.  I tend to just skim those parts for interesting words and will slow down if it sounds interesting.  This probably sounds bad and maybe I don't get the most that I can out of a book, but I have so many books to read.  I hate to say it, but a lot of the books seem to have filler that is unnecessary to the story.  I only read this if the character is extremely interesting to me.

Occasionally, I will come across a book that is just so good, I read every single word.  Unfortunately, I think these kinds of books are rare.

Date Posted: 12/13/2008 9:05 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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My mind tends to wander a lot too...lik eyou said if something in the book brings back memories(though not much of the romance brings back any memories for me LOL! more like daydreaming!) anyways, some of the most enjoyable books I've read took me a while to get through because I had to keep going back and re-reading the passages, etc.