I Like Reading Slowly, OK?

I am not a fast reader. So sue me.

I typically finish two books a month. Some people who will remain nameless, and some other people, also remaining nameless, seem to read a book every two days. Whoo! That’s light-speed to me.

I used to worry about being a slow reader, but I’ve realized that I don’t just read slowly, I luxuriate in books.

I’ll visit Quequeg and Ishmael for a few chapters. I’ll live in The Culture (Iain M. Banks) for an evening. I’ll spend a few hours stitching and catching up with Locke (Scott Lynch).

I like to be able to slow down and imagine these behemothaurs and their ecology, or stop and try to figure out WHY the ship names are so amusing to me.

I’ll put The Lies of Locke Lamora down and discuss in my head for a while Locke’s realization that his rash actions caused the deaths of his peers.

I spend quite a bit of time looking up terms and words and histories of and about what I read.

I go back and re-read a chapter or passage because it’s just so frikking cool. There’s a scene in The Burning Heart of Night by Ivan Cat in which the ship pilot is fighting a foe rendered invisible because of their differing perceptions/relativity of time. Woo. Stop, rewind, re-read. Let’s go over that again, shall we?

If I had to sit and read all of Don Quixote in one go I would hate it and hate life and hate everything. It is a big book with a lot of information meta- to the book. When I take it slowly, I have a great time laughing at the funny bits and making my brains bigger by learning about the history of Spain, history of literature, and some Spanish, too.

Sometimes I get anxious feeling like I have to check a bunch of titles off on a list, but I’m not going to worry about that anymore.

Reading is a journey for me.

5 thoughts on “I Like Reading Slowly, OK?

  1. I like to read in little pieces, which makes me slow, too. I am a monogamous knitter – I very, very rarely have more than one project in-progress at a time, and when I have two it’s usually that’s due to some physical limitation of the older work (giant shawl not a good project for the plane trip) – but with books, I tend to have 3-4 going on at a time, minimum.

    At least one audiobook – I can’t find another way to keep me from wanting to kill myself at the gym, so I listen to a book, and I find those little 45-minute sessions of novel get me through, and once a book becomes a Gym Book I try to keep it there to lure me back. I digest what I’ve just heard for the rest of the day.

    I also read what some people would undoubtedly consider to be a totally pathetic amount before bed. Sometimes just 5 pages or so. I am dead by the time bedtime rolls around, so I can’t stay awake, and what satisfies me there is just a little nibble of theme/atmosphere/world before I fall asleep. I keep short stories by the bedside, because these are good for a bit of world before bed, too. (But sometimes they’re so exciting it keeps me up!)

    Occasionally, in the middle of these bigger “routine” books, I get the urge to gobble an entire story and I’ll go grab something shorter. I killed the first Hunger Games book two weeks ago, out of the blue, and I have the second one waiting for when the next fit takes me.

    All this to say I am slow, too. Is good.

  2. I’m always questioning how much I’m reading and how fast I’m reading. I have a habit of speeding through books as fast as I can but I’m not really sure that’s the best way to do it. Right now I’m reading The Lies of Locke Lamora slowly, in chunks for the read-along and I’ve been really enjoying it that way. But at the same time I always feel really good when I manage two or more books in a week, plus this allows me to get more books read. Maybe it would be a good idea for me to always have one fast book and one slow book on the go?

  3. Reading for me goes in waves. Sometimes I hardly ready for a month. It depends on what’s going on in my life. Right now I’m really trying to speed through the read-a-long (mostly because I’m not enjoying the book, and I just want it done). I started Les Mis in September (on holiday in France, what better place to read it?), and I finished it in November (on holiday in Italy). It wasn’t like I was reading much in between, just got busy, plus it’s much easier to read in places where you can read while sipping some glorious red wine! I still remember finishing it up one morning while the other half was sleeping soundly in bed. I was sobbing at the end (I can’t even think of other books that had me crying like that). However, once I finished Les Mis in Italy, I proceeded to read four more books (granted short ones), during the rest of my week holiday.

    I’m sure when Locke is done, I’ll be busy studying for my Life in the UK test (which is a book at least) until my trip to NYC and Mexico in May, then the Kindle will be getting a workout. Of course, I’m taking the train to Edinburgh this weekend (for a stag weekend, woo hoo!), and it’s about a five hour train ride, so I imagine I might get a bit more out of my Kindle after Locke.

    All your talk about Don Quixote has me curious about it, I’m tempted to download it and give it a go here soon. (Except I have about 10 books downloaded at the moment, so maybe I’ll work my way through them first. Two of them aren’t short either, with the LotR trilogy (which approaching the age of 36, it’s a wonder I haven’t ready yet) and Infinite Jest (which I’ve been told has about two hundred pages of endnotes). We’ll see. Too many books, not enough time.)

    I just realized I’m obsessed with parentheticals. I managed to write some within my parenthetical.

  4. It depends on how interested I am in the book, too, as Grant says.

    Moby Dick is killing me, breaking my head with the sound waves from my own snoring as I read it.

    I also tend to be reading a lot of books at the same time. Right now? Don Quixote, the Moby Dickster, The Burning Heart of Night, The Twice Born, The Ship Who Sang, Venus if Dreams, In the Company of Others, Invisible Cities…

  5. I’m too impatient to read that way, I think. Unless it’s someone like Ursula Le Guin who writes prose so delicious you can practically taste it, then I read for the story, and if I reread books I want to take in the whole story again and think about it on the biggest possible level one more time. If I ever go over specific scenes it’s usually to analyse the technicalities of the writing, and learn how I could write that kind of scene better myself.

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