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Old 03-16-2011, 10:12 AM   #16
DixieGal
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I read slowly, leisurely, and for my own enjoyment.

Once upon a time, i had no choice but to read fast. That's because my degree is English Lit. It means 10 to 15 books per semester, not to mention all of the research for writing papers. I felt like the books were being physically crammed down my throat.

Now i do well to read a book per week. There is no goal at the end. Most of us participating in the "Read 100 Books in 2011" challenge are doing it just for ourselves, in order to see what our reading patterns are like. It is just a central thread to record our finished book lists. Some folks are also rating their books, but for me, that did not make sense because if i don't like a book, i delete it within 25 or so pages. So mine would all rate "good."

Are you happy? Enjoying your reader? Finding books that make you feel good? It seems to me that those are the most important criteria, more important than quantity. You have the rest of your life to read all of the books, so relax and enjoy the journey.
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Old 03-16-2011, 10:34 AM   #17
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Same Old Story: I tried to give you karma, but i've used mine up for 24 hours. You are STRONG! You forced yourself to overcome two debilitating problems that can be crushing, and you did it as a child. Applause!

When i was still teaching, i participated in a research project designed to help adults with dyslexia learn to read. It was sooooo hard! There were two of us teaching, and the optics prof who had the grant referred students to us. It was painful! The other teacher and myself, as well as the students could only do the exercises for 10 minutes per session, because the headaches were so bad. The exercises forced the brain to change the way it interpreted what was seen, and as the teachers, we also had to view the exercises. In all during that semester, only 1 tudent completed the project. She had become a reader for pleadure, like all of us here, when last i ran into her a few years ago.

So i understand how difficult your problems were applaud you for your strength and commitment!
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Old 03-16-2011, 10:40 AM   #18
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Or should I update my processor?
Reading on a computer is how I decided that I wanted to buy an ereader. While everyone (who reads on a computer) has their favorite program, mine was Mobipocket Reader.

With it you can set up your reading experience in such a way that helps you to read better/faster. I like multiple, narrow columns, as my eyes have less to take in as I read. I've set the background color to an off white that focuses my eyes on the text. I'm sure that others using it the way I've set it up would just hate it. But, then too, I would probably hate the way they would set it up.

It's free, so give it a try.
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Old 03-16-2011, 03:38 PM   #19
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For some kinds of novel, I find that there's no real need to mentally masticate over the subtleties of character development and plot, and the faster I can dump the story into my head the better. And that's what it really boils down to with that kind of book, for me at least: reading faster = getting more story = more enjoyment.

I do read faster than most people do, although not at "speed reading" speeds. For this kind of content, I've never worried about retention either. I mean, who cares? As long as I can remember the content long enough to get to the end of the book without getting confused, that's all the retention I need.
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Old 03-16-2011, 03:55 PM   #20
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Reading, to me, is like eating or sex. The best are slowly savored, with the occasionally required fast food or quickie in between.

If a book (or chapter) is really good, I take my time indulging in it and hate to see it end. If it's fluff, I'll enjoy it as a quickie; if it's dull, I'll gulp it down just to move on.
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Old 03-16-2011, 09:56 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piper_ View Post
Reading, to me, is like eating or sex. The best are slowly savored, with the occasionally required fast food or quickie in between.

If a book (or chapter) is really good, I take my time indulging in it and hate to see it end. If it's fluff, I'll enjoy it as a quickie; if it's dull, I'll gulp it down just to move on.
In keeping with your analogy, if it's dull I'll roll over and go to sleep, then find a new book in the morning.
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Old 03-17-2011, 10:12 AM   #22
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I have to force myself to read faster rather than at my 'natural' speed. I was educated as a scientist and spent my whole life reading for technical content, not for pleasure...until now at retirement.

Even so, I tend toward books written by 'wordsmiths' who carefully craft descriptions or ideas. I find I must read for comprehension of description, not just plot, in order to appreciate their work. If the author took time to write (and probably re-write) it, then I'll take the time to read it. It rather like the difference between driving down the interstate and walking in the woods. How much we miss when we rush ...
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Old 03-17-2011, 11:20 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spaze View Post
I want to read faster because there are so many wonderful books waiting for me to read them, but I have so little time.
I read about a book per week as well. It's more important to read deeply, imo, at whatever pace accomplishes that for you. There's almost always going to be wonderful books out there waiting.

If you want to read a bit more quickly, try increasing the font size and line spacing a bit (if you're using an ereader). Don't try to keep it at a size you think it 'should' be for a book; make it so it feels effortless on your eyes.
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Old 03-17-2011, 11:27 AM   #24
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It depends on the book for me. As someone who reads fantasy, there are some books that just have a lot of fluff. Excessive descriptions of the environment and whatnot. I often gloss over those because it just isn't worth my time. That being said, there are an equal number of fantasy books that don't have excessive fluff and I like to think I take my time reading those. I finished The Crippled God and The Wise Man's Fear in 7 days, but that's because I'm a jobless high school kid with a bajillion hours of free time.
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Old 03-17-2011, 11:28 AM   #25
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Quote:
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I have never been a good reader and it takes me about a week to read a whole book.
You don't say how much time you spend reading vs other activities. I read a lot of books, BUT I also hardly ever watch TV or play games, don't play golf or go out to clubs. Almost all of my recreational time plus my lunch hour at work is spent reading sometimes. It does you no good to rush through a book just to get to the next one as you'll likely miss a good portion of the story that way.
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Old 03-17-2011, 11:47 AM   #26
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Even so, I tend toward books written by 'wordsmiths' who carefully craft descriptions or ideas. I find I must read for comprehension of description, not just plot, in order to appreciate their work. If the author took time to write (and probably re-write) it, then I'll take the time to read it. It rather like the difference between driving down the interstate and walking in the woods. How much we miss when we rush ...
This reminds me of a few postings on another thread where some were arguing that if a translation of a book wasn't exacting then the books was less than useless because it wouldn't convey the authors original flavor and intent.

But then the student reading, say Tolstoy, has to cram Tolstoy's book in with all the rest of the books he must read. An understanding of the plot is gained, but the subtleties of 19 century Russia is lost. And I supect that the study of 19 century Russia would be a specialty in it's self, and a requirement to understand Tolstoy. Of what use is reading even the original work in Russian, if you don't understand the time period and it's social structure?

As you said, speed reading for information, such as in a technical book, is one thing. Reading for pleasure one needs to take the time to build up the environment within which the story is taking place. The amount of time differs from one to another.

Imagine a James Bond story;
James Bond, fictional British agent. Encounters and overcomes threats. Succeeds and gets girl.
End of story.


It's not all that bad. I've read some books very quickly, hanging onto every word. But either the story, or the writing, was so well done that I could speed along.

I imagine that there are many who can read much faster than I can with as much enjoyment as I get. But so what if they read faster than I do? It's the enjoyment that is of the most importance to me.

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Old 03-17-2011, 11:54 AM   #27
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When reading for pleasure, everyone finds their own speed that's comfortable for them. As so many other posters have pointed out, this isn't a competition!

There is a huge difference in reading for pleasure and reading for a technical, business, or other professional reason. If I'm reading a rather dull bestseller or thriller, I find my attention wandering and may either skip ahead or totally abandon the book. But if that bestseller has my full attention, I find myself reading faster and faster and faster; it's not uncommon for me to power through the average new full-length novel in about 2 hours. I also have a few dozen old favorites I re-read year after year, and find myself savoring certain passages which slow me down a bit.

Reading medical journals or reference texts are a different story. Here I'm reading for comprehension, and to build on my existing knowledge base. Although I can scan and process the words faster than many folks, the same volume of material does take me longer to get through than that of a popular novel.

I don't know of any tricks, because I don't use any. I can't help how fast I read -- I clearly remember as a third grader outpacing the teacher when the class assignment was to silently read a passage or chapter, and then getting in trouble for looking around because I was done long before everyone else --and it's not always a good thing. Do you have any idea how much it costs me to buy new books to feed my habit? :-)

Don't sweat your reading style. Reading is a joy, and as @piper so beautifully stated about books, that "The best are slowly savored, with the occasionally required fast food or quickie in between." I love that!
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Old 03-17-2011, 01:19 PM   #28
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My opinion is it comes down largely to childhood written language education. I believe we read faster if we got a deep vocabulary and thorough understanding of sentence structure. I was, um, blessed with teachers who continued to hammer the fundamentals year after year. I was also corrected by two very literate parents (mom taught English).

I'm sure there are also organic reasons why some people are better at language than others but I remember working hard at those reading-for-comprehension exercises in grade school. These were stories printed on cards with questions to answer after reading, color coded for difficulty.

Chicken or egg? Proably both, some natural talent that was nurtured.

I college I taught both reading and speed reading professionally. After that I did volunteer literacy tutoring, on and off. I do not recommend speed reading techniques for anyone who wants to enjoy what they read. They are designed to extract comprehension but tend to strip or gloss over any artistic content in the material.

My best general tip is to work on vocabulary so that you recognize more words at a glance. Even today I still work on vocabulary. I love that my e-reader has instant dictionary access.
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Old 03-17-2011, 10:07 PM   #29
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I'm a fast reader. My husband is a slow reader. We both get there. I know I can read more books, but I don't think he has any less pleasure reading his one to my 5.

I agree there are so many books out there to read. But I find it becomes obsessive reading all of them. Sometimes I would like to slow down & just read 1 book a week. I wonder what that would be like? I find it hard to slow my reading down.

As for learning to read faster, I took a speed reading class in high school over 40 years ago. My husband took one in college. It didn't help because as it turns out he has dyslexia.

Plus I have found I read fiction a whole lot faster than non fiction. So many of the fiction plots are the same that you don't always need to read every word. I tend to read sentences then. But if I want to learn something, I either slow it down or read it twice.
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Old 03-18-2011, 01:18 PM   #30
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Sometimes I would like to slow down & just read 1 book a week. I wonder what that would be like? I find it hard to slow my reading down.
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