Surviving as a slow reader

Are you a slow reader? And if so, do you feel bad about it?

I am reading much more than I’ve ever had – even more than during those days when I had plenty of time and less worries. At the time when I felt like every day was a bad day, I read, because I literally had nothing else other than the 50c books from the 2nd hand bookstore nearby. Still, I can’t help but thinking I should read more. I know I want to, and it’s not like I don’t make time to do it. Until a few months ago, I had been taking the train to the city everyday for a whole year and I made sure to always bring a paperback or my Kindle with me to read for at least an hour at a time. But when we finally moved to Berlin, my everyday train ride has been reduced to 30 minutes from what had been 1.5h. No wonder I have been sitting on this Anne Rice novel for two weeks now.

Wait, two weeks? That’s a lot of time for a book with less than 400 pages. I know people who only need a few hours to finish a novel and, truth be told, I’m awfully jealous. In fact, I wish to have finished it in two days’ time. What I wouldn’t give to be on that pace, eventhough it’s still a little slow for some readers. But then, I could finish more books in less time, fill up my shelves and visit bookstores more often! There’s just so much out there that I haven’t read yet, and just so much more that has yet to come out that I would want to read.

So does this mean I’m a bad reader?

I’d like to think not. I mean, I think I like it as much as anyone with a goal of 100 books in their Goodreads Reading Challenge (with my goal of 30, and being 3 books behind schedule this late in the year). And while I don’t believe I need to prove anything to anyone especially about this matter, I just don’t want to miss out on all the books out there, waiting to be read. It’s my goal to read a lot and I don’t want to feel like I’m failing.

How to read more in less time:

I have gathered some tricks to make you want to read and on how to keep wanting it. I mean, it really has to start there.

  1. Talk to someone about books. I have a friend I talk to regularly about the books we read. In fact, this friendship has started with this very topic of conversation. We have read about 30 books in common, a handful of them we just recommended to one another over one year of friendship. This has helped me a lot because since then, I clearly have read less books that I felt I just wasted time on. That way, I can read more quality books and get more excited to finish them because I know I have someone to talk to about them.
  2. Always have a book with you. Sometimes you’ll be stuck in the train for a while, or wait at the doctor’s office for an hour, or you’ll just decide to sit on a park bench before going back home.  All these are perfect excuses to open that book and read.
  3. Goals. Aside form the Goodreads Reading Challenge, I have set and achieved my personal goal of reading all of Sidney Sheldon’s novels. However, I didn’t really set a specific time to finish that one so it took me 6 years to gather and read all 18 books. Right now I just started Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles, currently on book one. And because I like her material so far, I already grabbed a copy of book two. After book three, I’ll decide if I want to continue and then maybe I’ll give myself a year to get to the latest and keep track of the release of the next one (so far there are 12). I think this also helps to get the hang of your author of choice’s writing and, therefore, read faster.
  4. Not reading before bed. I remember a few years back when I made a habit of it because it was the only quiet time I could get in a day. I would read until I fell asleep. But then, when I got some time to read during the day,  it made me sleepy because I had somehow conditioned myself that way. Worst case, as soon as I wake up, I’d already forgotten where I finished and would probably have to do a few pages of back-reading.
  5. Be around books. I rarely ever just pass by a bookstore. I don’t always come out with a book in my hand, but I look around to see if there’s anything I might be interested in and take note of it. Most of the time it’s just a reminder to finish the one you are reading now quickly, so you could jump to the next one (sometimes you’d lose one night’s worth of sleep but it’s worth it nonetheless.) 🙂

2 thoughts on “Surviving as a slow reader

  1. Love the tips. I love reading. There are times I can finish in days, there are times that I haven’t finished a book at all. Haha It’s true that when you talk to someone about books, you get encouraged to read.
    I’m guilty at the ‘reading before bed’, but I don’t fall asleep reading. My problem was I couldn’t stop because of the story and I had to force myself to sleep because it was already 3-4am! Ahh, those days. 🙂 I also had to stop because I had toddlers to attend to in the morning. 😀

  2. Ahh, yes! I should’ve been more clear about that. If I know I will not finish the book even if I pulled an all-nighter on it then I don’t bother to force myself to stay up for it all night. And, yes, you gotta sleep at some point, right? 😉 But when I’m perhaps 80% done with it I do get tempted to stay up and finish. No regrets, though. 🙂

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