Sunday, December 28, 2008

Fifty-three minutes

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.

11 comments:

Danielle said...

Wow--That's amazing! I think 400 is well out of my range under any circumstances. The most I have managed is 88 last year (a few less this year). I might make 100 someday, we'll see. I think big books like Les Miserables should count for a few books (that would help my numbers out!). I won't even try timing myself reading Animal Farm--I'm a really slow reader--it would probably take me all afternoon! :)

SFP said...

I read 573 pages in Les Mis last summer. I wish I could count them.

Maybe I'll have the book finished by this coming summer.

Lezlie said...

If I could have a superpower, I would beg to have the ability to speed read. I plan on reading a book about it early in 2009 and see if I can't at least up my ability just a little bit. 400 books!! That's my dream!!

Lezlie

Dorothy W. said...

I don't really get the point of speed reading, as I just can't process that much material all at once, and without taking time to think about things, the reading isn't worth much to me (just me -- I'm not judging how other people read). But I do spend way too much time online, and if I cut that down, I'd definitely read more books per year. That would be worth while.

stefanie said...

I will probably never read 100 books in a year let alone 400. But that's ok, I just need to work at being more selective rather than reading faster. I hear you on the internet taking so much time.

brooksideelaine said...

I have had lots of comments and emails on my reading speed and I do hasten to say, as I have said all my life, that this is something that just comes naturally to me. I do not recommend speed reading, everyone should read at their natural speed. I woke up early this morning, in fact at 6am, wide awake so have just spent two hours in bed reading and finishing a book. My mother used to get rather impatient with me and did not believe that I could possibly read and, if you have read my posts, you will see that teachers did not believe me either. I just read and love it and it really does not matter how fast one reads. Loving and enjoying what you read is the most important part.

debnance said...

I've always been embarrassed about how fast I read; I race through books I love and I fly through those I don't.

Every year I vow that I'm going to read slower. I never do. So this year I've decided to just feel happy that I can read so fast. Why not?

Diana said...

This is the first year I've managed to track how many books I read and I'm due to come in somewhere between 55-60. That surprised me; roughly a book a week sounds like a lot to me. I know that there are weeks here and there where I don't read a book at all, so I must have manic weeks where I double up.

This really feels like a good reading pace for me, and everyone I know thinks I read a staggering amount!

Ella said...

I gave up keeping track of the books I read per year a couple years ago when I came up with a list of 115. At first I was all, "Wow! I'm awesome!" but then I realized that about half were either under a hundred pages, had pictures, or were large-type.

Lisa said...

Reading speed fascinates me. I've never tested myself, but I consider myself probably a little above average (whatever that is). However, I will never read 100s of books in a year -- at least not while I have to work and participate in life. I read 64 books this year, which I'm pretty happy with. My goal was 52 (one a week). I don't ever want to put the quantity above the quality reading experience. In fact, I find myself wanting to slow down and savor the books I read more. I want to talk to others about them and think about them more.
Have a great 2009!

Bybee said...

I'll give my self the Animal Farm speedreading test sometime this year. Happy Book Year!