I found myself so fascinated by Elaine's posts on her reading speed--she can read Animal Farm in 30 minutes--that I had to put my own self to the test a couple weeks back. I finished the book in 53 minutes, which translates into less than 700 words a minute, shabby by Elaine standards, and totally irrelevant to my typical reading rate. Yesterday I decided to time myself on another short book, Adalbert Stifter's Rock Crystal. I finished it in (I know you're not going to believe me) 53 minutes. Unfortunately, the Stifter is much shorter than the Orwell, and I estimate my reading speed on this one at being less than 350 words a minute, which qualifies as an epic fail by Evelyn Wood's standards, because she doesn't care that during this time I was also eating breakfast or fighting off the cat that kept insisting she get to sit in front of the book on my lap instead of behind it. Evelyn Wood no doubt had distractions in her reading life as well; she just read even faster to compensate.
Clearly I'm never going to make it through 400 books a year like Jessica, or 200 classics like Mandi, but I would like reach 100 again--haven't done that since 2001--so I'm intending to make more time to read books in 2009. I waste an enormous amount of time on the internet; if I can curtail that habit I should be able to reach 100 whether or not a cat's obstructing my view a good deal of the time.