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Old 03-15-2009, 10:46 AM   #1
Bob Russell
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Ebook fans who read slowly

I'm constantly amazed at the rate at which MobileRead members devour books. I mean, 20 books a year seems almost hard to believe. But some people here reach the impressive rates of something like a book every day or two, and I think that a book a week (>50 per year) is not uncommon.

Surely there are a few readers out there that can't read that fast (like me). Some of us don't have that much time to spend on reading. In fact, I do most of my reading on technical materials, often not done cover to cover anyway.

I'm pretty darn slow when it comes to pleasure reading, like novels, biographies, history, sci-fi, etc. If it's an all-consuming "page-turner" then maybe I'll finish it in as little as a week. Even a weekend in an extreme case. But the average book takes me about a month or so, and that's only if I am reading on most days.

Even when it comes to each page. I think I take a whole minute or more per page on a good book, so I don't exactly burn through pages either. My mind doesn't really work that fast, and I also tend to daydream and think about other stuff when I'm reading for fun. If I find myself skimming a book or having to re-read all the time because my mind wandered, I usually just go find another book that's more fun to read.

As far as I'm concerned, the worst kind of book is one that makes me really want to know what happens next, but hate reading the pages in-between. Especially, if the event's that I care about are sort of subtly hidden amongst hundreds of uninteresting words. Then it becomes like a "where's Waldo" game while I hunt for the plot events while trying to avoid actually reading the text!

So am I a strange creature when it comes to reading? Is there anyone else out there who really loves to read, but who reads for pleasure in a more leisurely fashion, finishing only a handful of books each year? Tell me I'm not alone in the snail's pace!
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Old 03-15-2009, 11:03 AM   #2
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Interesting. I find that my reading speed changes depending on the text (of course, right?). For academic stuff, it's slower by quite a bit. For fiction and nonfiction books for leisure, I can read them very quickly. I was well trained. When I entered graduate school in anthropology, we had to read about 1,000 pages a week of hard dense text. No kidding you. This is 1,000 pages/week! For a course that was 10 weeks long, this meant reading over 20 some books and having a three volume course reader that was a compilation of various journal articles.
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Old 03-15-2009, 11:10 AM   #3
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For academic stuff, it's slower by quite a bit. For fiction and nonfiction books for leisure, I can read them very quickly.
I agree. That is true for me also.
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Old 03-15-2009, 11:39 AM   #4
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I'm also what I'd consider to be a slow reader when it comes to fiction. I like to take my time and work my way through it. What's kind of funny to me is that with an ereader, I tend to read much faster than I do with a paper book. Almost twice as fast.
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Old 03-15-2009, 11:59 AM   #5
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i think overall i'm a fairly fast reader but there are some books i read very slowly. maybe because the prose is so gorgeous i want to savour every word (Alessandro Baricco comes to mind...) or because there is a lot of information to take in (nonfiction) and sometimes if the characters' names are too similar or if there are a lot of them i get them confused (i'm terrible with names, including in books) and i have to keep going back to remind myself who is who... luckily the 700 and the eb1150 both allow me to turn pages quickly so i can easily go back a page or two when necessary.

i also sometimes skim the previous page quickly when i pick up a book again to remind myself where i was when i stopped, particularly since i like to read two books (or more) at the same time.

i'm (re)reading moby dick on my telephone in the métro right now (using a bookapp from booksinmyphone.com) and it's a bit frustrating for that because there seems to be some strange bug where if i try to go back one page it sends me back to the beginning of the book, so i can't do that. i'm pretty close to switching that book over to my 700 instead because there are often passages i'd like to re-read just because i enjoyed them so much (moby dick is a really funny book, and very well-written) and also to take advantage of the highlighting / note-taking features to mark the passages i particularly enjoy and come back to them for future reference. that's another thing that makes me read more slowly.
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Old 03-15-2009, 12:11 PM   #6
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Old 03-15-2009, 12:21 PM   #7
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Even when it comes to each page. I think I take a whole minute or more per page on a good book, so I don't exactly burn through pages either.
If you mean a paper book then this is not slow. If you read 10 hour a week you will read 1-2 books a week.
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Old 03-15-2009, 12:28 PM   #8
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Bob,

I read on average about 4 books a month since I started keeping track. Some books are much easier and faster to read. For example, I can whip through a Star Trek book in a few days of reading.

I also have other hobbies... surfing the web, TV and I have a job. So, I probably don't read more than 20-30 minutes a day. The exception is if a book is really good and has my attention... Then I will focus on it.

As far as how fast I read the words... I don't really know how that compares. I read the speed I read to consume the book without missing stuff.

BOb
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Old 03-15-2009, 12:33 PM   #9
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I would consider myself a moderately fast reader, but I MUST read each and every word, no skimming whatsoever.

This is probably why I catch typo and grammar mistakes in almost every book that I read.

When reading my Sci-fi books, I must also ENUNCIATE (in the out-loud portion of my mind?) all of the strange alien names, each and every time I come across them. I don't know why I must do this, I can't just start giving nicknames to characters in a book.

When reading murder mysteries or psychological thrillers I must keep track of each character, what their occupation is and what relationship they have to each other. I used to do this with pen and paper, so as not to miss a clue along the way, but now I'm adding notations in my PRS700 which I can refer back to when an old character suddenly reappears, or there are just too many characters to keep track of! I also like to mark the spot when I think I have figured out "who did it".

WDE.
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Old 03-15-2009, 12:46 PM   #10
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When I was younger, i.e. in high school and college, I would easily read 10-20 books a week. Some 25 years later, I find that I'm reading at a slower rate for a number of reasons.

First, as I grow older, like most people, I don't have the ability to absorb information like I use to.

Second, books are much longer now than they use to be. Due to a combination of how authors were paid, binding technology and the like, it was not uncommon for books to be half the size that they are now.

Third, topic - while I have always been a history fan and read a lot of non fiction, I do read more non fiction for recreational reading than I did when I was younger.

Fourth, time - I simply don't have the time to spend 4 or 5 hours a day reading like I did when I was in school. Most weekdays, I'm lucky to get in 1 or 2 hours of recreational reading between work, driving and karate.

With that said, I still read more books than most. I probably read anywhere from 10-20 books a month now, rather than 10-20 a week. I haven't been to a library in years, so each of those represents I book that I have purchased. Ebooks represents a god send for me since I have totally run out of room to store my paper back and hard back books.
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Old 03-15-2009, 12:59 PM   #11
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I have 2 reading styles - work and pleasure. Work is a paper page a minute, and when I am done, I can recall footnotes in the text, for years. I developed this manner of reading in law school, and as a tax lawyer, I continue reading this way for content.

Pleasure reading is a Harlequin romance a day, and the next day, I cannot recall what I read. I read about an hour a day for my commute, and an hour at night to get ready for bed.

Same with movies. My husband can remember the movies we saw when we were dating. I might remember the titles, but not the plot.

I always said this would help me when I was old and was eating dog food (a particular fear of mine). At least for reading, I can just reread the books I purchased when I was working.
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Old 03-15-2009, 01:10 PM   #12
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I have 2 reading styles - work and pleasure. Work is a paper page a minute, and when I am done, I can recall footnotes in the text, for years. I developed this manner of reading in law school, and as a tax lawyer, I continue reading this way for content.
For some academic texts, it may take me 1 hour to read 20 pages, so about 3 minutes for a page.
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Old 03-15-2009, 01:14 PM   #13
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I work a full-time+, have a family and still manage 2-4 books a week depending on the size and other things going on.

I'm a speed reader (by nature not trained)..its like I subconsciously scan a paragraph/page and decide what words to read. I find that the spacing on the Kinde 1 facilitates this style of reading so that I am reading more than ever.

If I am engrossed in a book, I find it hard to put down often foresaking what I should be doing (including sleep).

This also means I will probably never adapt to the eWorld when it comes to detailed documents and textbooks where word-for-word comprehension is required. I find myself having to read those in paper so I can highlight/take notes to slow my reading and focus.

My retired mom, who is also a Kindle owner, probably reads twice as much.
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Old 03-15-2009, 01:15 PM   #14
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Old 03-15-2009, 01:37 PM   #15
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Pleasure reading is a Harlequin romance a day, and the next day, I cannot recall what I read.
That is my wife right there. Not with the Harlequins, but the speed and recollection. It used to drive me crazy. I'm not one of those people that can recall quotes from books, but I still do remember books I read as a kid. She will read a book and be able to talk about it for a day, then that's that. It's completely left her memory it seems.
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