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Slow readers club

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Initial post: 27 Mar 2012 11:28:38 BDT
I think I'm the slowest reader in the universe and I can't make up my mind if it's a curse or a blessing.

For as long as I can think, I've been this slow; my classmates were always finished way before me and it takes me ages to get through a book nowadays as I usually only read before I go to sleep (not the book!).

When I was a kid, I would hide all day in my room, reading, particularly on school holidays and being slow didn't matter to me so much, but I must admit that it annoys the heck out of me to take two to three weeks to finish one book when I read thirty minutes to hour every night.

I know there are courses for speed-reading, but I don't want that either. I want to read every word, just wish I were a bit faster.

For those of you who 'suffer' from slow-reading, what do you think? Curse or blessing?

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Mar 2012 14:29:15 BDT
When I was a kid I really struggled to read and obviously hated it. I was in my early 20's when I went into a charity shop and there was a load of books by Sophie Kinsella, all the shopperholic ones. They sounded like me haha so I bought them. I spent a fortune on them with no intention of ever reading them. All my friends looked so happy with a good book and glass of wine and I so longed to share that enjoyment. Anyway one long holiday I had split with my chap and was so bored I decided to sit in the sun with a cold vino and try to read a book.......... 5 years later!!! I have the biggest book collection ever and I love to read but because I lack in confidence reading and still find it a little hard at times I have to read it word for word also I am soooo tired, as soon as I sit to read I fall asleep. So like you it takes me months to read a book. But the trouble is I love to buy them quicker than I can read them. Is there such a thing as an addiction to buying new books? If so I think I have it. Ill be 85yrs old before I get through the collection haha.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Mar 2012 14:44:19 BDT
I don't think you're alone there Nicola! There is something about purchasing a brand spanking new book - the anticipation of shutting yourself away and getting completely lost for a few hours. I too have far more books than I'll probably ever read, but hey, whatever gives you pleasure!

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Mar 2012 14:47:53 BDT
Last edited by the author on 27 Mar 2012 14:48:55 BDT
I also work in a school library so when I see the kids getting so excited about a new book it makes me want to feel that excitment and buy another bloody one to add to my 135 still to read. Good job I have a 4 bedroomed house to fill haha.

Posted on 27 Mar 2012 15:36:17 BDT
VCBF (Val) says:
Stella: Speed reading should be used for finding information in reference books, not devouring novels in a single sitting when you could be savouring the language.
I wouldn't see it as a curse to read slowly, if it means you get extra pleasure from the book.
Perhaps what you really want is more time to read.
(You might want to stay away from "War and Peace", "A Suitable Boy" or "Les Miserables" though).

Posted on 27 Mar 2012 18:51:12 BDT
Nicola that's so horrific that you didn't discover your love for books earlier, but it's never too late, glad you do now. I read from my early years, but I'm terryfied of reading out loud. Can't do that for some reason. Got laughed at at school because I couldn't read one sentence without mistake. But then who cares? Reading is a private pleasure. I probably was one of those kids you saw in the library and since I read a lot of series, I was always excited to borrow books. Gee, went home with my bag stuffed with new reading material, then bought plenty of sweets and locked myself away in my room. Read with a torch after I was told to sleep, or waited until my parents slept and switched on the light again. Got in trouble a few times for that. lol

I'm trying to resist buying new books at the moment, but as I said, it's trying. As Norman said, the anticipation of sitting down with a new book and losing yourself in that world is great. I used to love going to book shops and spent hours looking at the covers, the blurbs. Now I love browsing for the Kindle.

VCBF: I agree, then I know people who can read a massive book in a few hours and still take in all of the words. I'm thinking about the masses I could learn. I used to read quite a lot non-fiction, which I would like to return to, but I have my struggles. Just started 'We bought a zoo' as I saw the movie and thought the book's probably a 100 times better. We'll see when I finish with it. :-)

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Mar 2012 19:40:58 BDT
I feel your pain- I have around 20 books in my bedroom I have yet to read.

Posted on 27 Mar 2012 19:52:31 BDT
Last edited by the author on 27 Mar 2012 19:53:19 BDT
Ethereal says:
I'm not a slow reader but as I've got older find I need to be in the mood and the book needs to work harder to keep my interest. As a result I have several on the go at once, though once a story grips me I can zip through it without needing to alternate with the rest. I put it down to my concentration not being what it used to. I don't mind it though, I also think I appreciate the writing more because I'm not just devouring them these days.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Mar 2012 20:37:24 BDT
About ten tree books and 30 on the Kindle... Stresses me out to no end.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Mar 2012 20:40:26 BDT
You know what? Same here, plus the fact that I'm rather familiar with the writing process. Before that I only discarded a few books; I'd say I read and like/loved about 99% of the books I bought. Nowadays I like/love 1% and discard the rest. Pains me to be honest. I'm always annoyed when I discard a book after reading half-way through and it goes downhill. It means I've wasted at least a week or two.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Mar 2012 20:54:45 BDT
Ethereal says:
No no, never a waste, at least for a beginner like me because you can learn from others' writing mistakes! It just takes me a while to get through them and I've always been ruthless about books so will only keep those I have sentimental links with or want to reread. My ratio is about the same as yours.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Mar 2012 21:00:52 BDT
That's the point, I'm not a beginner anymore; at least I don't consider myself one. I'm a fast learner and I doubt I can learn much from the books I read. Guess when it annoys you, you already know how to do it better. I rather read something I admire and learn from that, know what I mean?

Thing is that I still like reading the stuff I read before, plus additional 'genres' now. I also have my difficulties with traditionally published books. So hope I'll love We bought a zoo, even though I know the story, the voice rather much appeals to me, that's always a good sign.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Mar 2012 22:10:18 BDT
LEP says:
Are you generally slow at reading anything e.g. text on a computer screen? If the answer is no i.e you are faster reading off the screen, then perhaps investing in a Kindle might help.

Personally, I wouldn't worry about being slow. As long as you enjoy the stories, that's what counts.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Mar 2012 22:16:50 BDT
Generally. With books, on computer, notes made on arms and hands, and on the Kindle. You know when you watch a film and there's the text bit at the end, telling you what happened to the people who inspired the film? I'm not even fast enough to read them :-(

Very thankful for the pause button, seriously.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Mar 2012 13:39:51 BDT
Last edited by the author on 28 Mar 2012 13:59:50 BDT
LEP says:
Don't worry about it Stella, just carry on enjoying the books that you do read.

There are probably comprehension exercises that you could do, certainly there are ones for children and I think, from what I can remember, that comprehension is still part of the Key Skills that are required at colleges and universities, KS4 & 5, but unless it ready impedes your everyday life and you are seriously worried, it's probably not worth it. (Possibly a rude question, but have you had your eyes checked recently? Glasses, if you need them, might be a big help. Also, on the computer screen try altering the size of the text to 14 or 16, or bigger if necessary. My son is Dyslexic and that is a technique Dyslexics are advised to use and it does help).

I have no trouble myself with reading speed. However, I have major problems with sub titles on TV and have missed various Scandinavian series because of this. I concentrate on trying to read the text, which is often set against a white background, so I can't see the words anyway, that I'm missing the actual action itself. Yes, I do wear glasses, so it's not that! LOL).

Posted on 28 Mar 2012 14:35:42 BDT
I. McLachlan says:
I'm a slow reader too, and it takes me two or three weeks on average to read a book, even though I read every day commuting and before going to bed. I recently read Moby Dick and it took me about 8 weeks.

I used to buy lots of books when I was younger but now only have about three or four lined up waiting to be read. Also, because I'm a slow reader I'm very picky about what I read. I choose books from authors I know or that are similar to authors I know. Anything outwith that has to come very highly recommended. Having a wish list that I can buy books from when I'm ready to replenish my stocks and being able to read reviews (from real readers) helps a lot.

I've long since stopped being worried about being a slow reader. I have tried, and am able to skim through books at maybe three times my normal rate, but I can't enjoy books that way. I've met people, and have read reviews from people who claim to have read books in one sitting or in a couple of days, etc, but refuse to believe that they've been fully immersed in and gained the same amount of pleasure from the book as I have.

Another plus point of being a slow reader is when you read book that you really love, it becomes part of your life for those weeks that you're reading it. I sometimes slow down even more towards the end because I don't want it to finish.

(also need the pause button to read screen captions properly).

Posted on 28 Mar 2012 15:17:20 BDT
bluecat says:
I used to be a very slow reader - many's the time at uni when I would have to stay in my room to finish a book while my friends would be down the bar. I think I was careful to take in every word in case I missed anything important. At that time, I also found it impossible to read without a pencil in my hand! Now, I read much faster, especially on the kindle.

Posted on 28 Mar 2012 15:33:57 BDT
I'm a slow reader but I find the more I read the faster I'm getting. I don't mind it now it used to annoy me in school but i had good teachers who would help me out. If I have to read something fast it annoys me but most of the time it doesn't bother me. I sat in the garden today for a few hours and only got through a quarter of a book when I know my mum would have finished it but I still enoyed the peace and chance to read. I can't read before bed as it wakes me up so I read during the day.

Posted on 28 Mar 2012 15:55:40 BDT
I do not think that reading slowly is a curse, I read far too quickly and impatiently, and find that I have sometimes missed the point of what I was reading and I have to retrace my steps. Also, I cannot stop myself from glancing down the page a bit, and I end up spoiling the passage for myself all the time. It drives me mad, because the suspense is the best bit, but I just happen to see a word which gives the whole thing away, most often the cliffhanger at the end of a chapter, or the identity of the killer, that sort of thing.

I wish I could read more slowly sometimes so that I could appreciate what I was reading. I rush on because I have so many books I want to read that I am thinking about the next one before I have finished. That is not a good state to get yourself into!

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Mar 2012 19:51:48 BDT
Eyes are um.. damanged anyway. But I read that slowly all my life. I feel like bluecat: I feel like I need every word. Maybe my being ADHD is part of it. I sometimes feel I'm slightly dyslexic. When I write in Word for instance and the word is underlined red it might take me ages to figure out what I've done wrong. Drives me nuts.

Then again, when I read other people's work I spot them without problems. My spelling was always really good in school.

My main worry is that I'd like to offer a faster turn around with clients (editing), which is a pain for me. It'll always take a month for a full 80k manuscript. I'm very VERY thorough. Even when it's only character or story. A friend who gave me feedback on my plot once read the 80k in one day. Left me speechless.

Ah well, guess I'll have to put up with my slow reading. At least I'm reading and I love it.

Posted on 29 Mar 2012 00:29:55 BDT
Frank Mundo says:
I like to consider myself a careful reader, but I'm definitely a lot slower than most people. I've noticed, however, that I read a bit faster on the Kindle when I turn it horizontally. Maybe I just need glasses :)

Posted on 29 Mar 2012 11:58:53 BDT
˙ɹǝʍols uǝʌǝ s,ʇı ˙ƃuıpɐǝɹ ʎɯ ǝʌoɹdɯı ʇ,uoʍ ʇı ʇnq `uʍop ǝpısdn ǝlpuıʞ ǝɥʇ uɹnʇ oʇ pǝıɹʇ ǝʌ,ı

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Mar 2012 19:15:03 BDT
Last edited by the author on 29 Mar 2012 19:20:55 BDT
LEP says:
Dyslexia isn't just bad spelling though Stella. Some Dyslexics have no problems with spelling. It's more about the rate and way that you assimilate written text. Basically, Dyslexics don't push text of any sort, whether instructions, stories, research material or whatever, into their long-term memory easily. Often having to read a peice over and over until they comprehend it fully. They are often excellant verbally, at explaining something, but unable to easily get the words in their head onto paper or screen, which is where speech recognition software helps. So, for instance they may be able to talk and talk about a subject, with good description etc, but when asked to write it down, they'd perhaps produce a couple of paragraphs. They perhaps easily forget verbal instructions or telephone messages etc. Organisation, concentration and planning skills can be poor, as can be reading skills and understanding words. Although there are spell checkers on computers, these don't differentiate between homophones, words which sound the same, but are spelt differently, e.g. there and their, which and witch, whether and weather etc. Some have difficulty in telling left from right and others have difficulty with maths. Now not all people who are Dyslexic have all of the above, it differs from person to person.

However, eyesight and hearing can be a contributing factor, which doesn't necessarily mean that a person has Dyslexia, it could be poor hearing or eyesight which is causing the problem. Depression too is a factor, which can cause similar effects as Dyslexia but is not actually Dyslexia. There is another factor, which many researchers don't count as Dyslexia, while others do, and there is a name for it which I can't remember. It's where the text appears to move about on the page or screen. Coloured reading glasses e.g. blue, pink, green etc, or coloured overlays on a page seem to somehow "untangle" the text so that it can be easily read (my son has this). You could try getting yourself some coloured clear plastic and try out each colour over a page of text and see if it's better with any particular colour. Often black on a white background is difficult to read.

It often helps if the text is larger than normal and ARIEL bold is also supposed to be preferable to Roman font etc. Also, if you can change the background colour of your computer screen, try it.

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Mar 2012 20:38:05 BDT
Funny you should say that: I indeed have difficulties comprehending text. Instructions are a nightmare for me and I hate reading texts I'm not interested in. I remember that when we were told at school to highlight important passages, I was really stressed out: I would either highlight all or nothing. lol Yay, that was fun.

I'm very good at taking things in when listening and got through school wth these skills. Then again, what I didn't know back then and only learned as an adult, I have a higher than average IQ, which, by the way, covered up for my ADHD and the ADHD held me back from reaching top marks.
I also learn differently. It would take too long to explain now, and I don't even know how it's different to others as I only know how to learn this way. Never mind.

I'm just a slow reader and it often annoys me. Mostly when I have to finish something on a dealine. Luckily not in my spare time, but still I wonder how it feels like to get through a book on a day without having to interrupt for the night or work or else. Like watching a movie, for instance. Imagine you'd have to watch a movie at a 15-min-a-day rate.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Mar 2012 12:11:27 BDT
Last edited by the author on 30 Mar 2012 12:15:35 BDT
LEP says:
Well if you have ADHD that could of course be a contributing factor. I'd just ignore the slow reading and enjoy the books you do read. You could try different coloured overlays, you never know it might help, along with larger print.
Learning to speed read might help with finishing stuff to a deadline for work etc. You don't have to use that technique when reading for pleasure.

Happy reading.
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Discussion in:  fiction discussion forum
Participants:  15
Total posts:  53
Initial post:  27 Mar 2012
Latest post:  7 Apr 2012

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