Reading fast and slow

When you read a book that you really enjoy, do you force yourself to read it slowly, to savour the feeling, or do you try and inhale it all in one sitting?

When I was younger I used to fly through books I loved – I still remember being incommunicado for days as I was reading The Bronze Horseman. I was transfixed; I couldn’t read it fast enough. Same with The Hunger Games. I picked it up from the library one innocent afternoon, and lifted my head from it some four hours later having devoured it in one massive gulp.

But lately I’ve been going the other way – when I find myself reading a book that I can tell I’m going to love, when I’m a world or a headspace that I never want to leave, I’ve been slowing myself down to try and eke out the pleasure.

As I mentioned here, I’m currently on the go-slow with my reading of Fangirl. I just love being inside Cath’s head, and I know I’m going to find it really hard to say goodbye to her on that last page, so I’m using all of my will power to delay that moment.

Likewise, when I was reading Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, I actually gave myself a limit on how many pages I was allowed to read a night, so I could stay with Oskar for as long as possible. I was terrified of getting to the finish, not just because I was anxious about how the book itself would end, but because I never wanted to not be travelling around New York with Oskar trying to find what that bloody key would open.

What about you? Are you a savourist or a devourist?

4 replies »

  1. Hi. Great post! For me, it depends on the genre. I tend to devour romantic suspense books because they are fast-paced. Other absorbing books include ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ and ‘The Hunger Games’. I read fast because I really want to know what happens next.

    If the book has heavy themes (e.g. dystopia or ‘We Need to Talk about Kevin), then I read at a much slower pace. That’s usually because the book uses sophisticated words or presents abstract concepts. Hence I need more time to process the story.


    • It’s such a hard thing to do, particularly if the book is really good. I’m not very good at it either, but I have found by limiting the number of pages I’m allowed to read, then it forces me to slow down because I don’t want to get to the end of the allotted pages…


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