Cassandra Jade has an interesting blog post up at her often interesting blog (go read!). She says that when she likes a book, she tears through it and reads it quickly. She can tell she doesn’t like a book if she’s reading it slowly. “If I am reading it really slowly, it means I am dissecting it in my head and ready to rewrite it from the beginning because I really, really, dislike it.”
But this totally isn’t true of me! I read Twilight in a couple ferocious and intense hours. I had to finish it, even as I wanted to through it against the wall. (Which I didn’t do, because it was an ebook and that would have involved throwing my computer against the wall.) I also read those two Shannon Hale books very quickly and I loved them both very much. Then there are the books that I pick through and finish because I appreciate them, but don’t like them. School books often fall into this category. And then there are the books that I savor. It took me a loooooong time to read Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay. I would read a few pages, putting the book down to savor the pure beauty of his words, and then pick it up again for a few more pages, but I never read more than, say, fifty pages a day.
I can’t even say the difference is “unputdownability” because many of my friends found Tigana unputdownable. And so did I, in a way, as even though it took me ages to finish it, I kept coming back to it. Even after I lost the book a third of the way through! All I can say is, when I am tearing through a book, I am completely immersed and that is great. But I can’t think about the book at all. I can’t think how it relates to my life or the world, I can’t even think about what’s going on in the book. I don’t always want to think about books. If you look at the books I’ve read so far this year, I’ve torn through all of them. (Although I’m sure that’s because I needed to balance the intense thinking I’m doing about school books.) I think that my brain automatically tries to create the maximally enjoyable read for me. Twilight was quick because if I hadn’t read it in one go I would have eaten my arm off or something. Tigana was slow because, oh my gods, that language. Kay has a way with words, lemme tell ya.
What about you? Fast reader, slow reader, what makes you switch?