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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Booking Through Thursday

Today's question is:

What do you think of speed-reading? Is it a good way to get through a lot of books, or does the speed-reader miss depth and nuance? Do you speed-read? Is some material better suited to speed-reading than others?

I've thought about this question quite a bit over the years. I'm a pretty fast reader. This is both good, and bad. Good, in that I can average 75ish books a year when most of my reading time is the half an hour before I go to bed. (I miss the days when I could easily pull off an entire Saturday reading in my bedroom...) Bad, in that I know things pass me by.

I do think that some of my reading likes and dislikes are formed by the speed at which I read. I've never been a big fan of most poetry, and I think a large part of that is that poetry is meant to be savored. You simply cannot skim your way through a poem and expect to get much out of it. And while I am capable of slowing down when comprehension is important, I can't maintain that for long, and inevitably find myself speeding along. That's why most poetry is a failure to me.

I know I miss things because I'm often skimming what I read. (And the more I want to find out what happens next, the faster I skim.) When I was younger (and had more reading time), I frequently reread books multiple times. I was able to do this in part because I would often find details that I had missed the first, second or third time I'd read through the book. I remember noticing a major plot point in the middle book of one of my favorite series after the fourth or fifth read through. It informed some actions that were taken later that I'd always been a bit confused on the origins for. Took me the fourth or fifth time through to catch it. Still, I can't help myself. I love seeing what's going to happen next. It's hard to sit back and smell the roses when there's plot out there waiting to be discovered. I guess I'm just destined to always have new discoveries when I reread my favorite books. And I'm ok with that.


eveningreader said...

Re-reading is invaluable no matter how quickly (or slowly) one reads a book the first time, and I always wish there was more time for it!

Jenn said...

Yes, this is me exactly, too!

zackzimma said...

well, speed reading has its pros and cons, and for me, i would prefer to read at average speed. i also like to reread my books because i like how it surprises me when i found new details that i didnt notice in my 1st reading. its just wow!!