On Reading Fast

I have been reading books ever since I was a kid. Unlike now, I wasn’t very picky about books, so anything that came my way was slurped up. As a kid I do remember my short term memory was horrible, but my long term memory was brilliant, I can still remember the characters and themes from Somerset Maugham’s Razor’s Edge from 20 years ago. This book had a big influence on me at that time.

Anyways, where I was heading was, even when i was finishing up a book a day I realized I was a slow reader compared to my brother and other people at school.

And over the next decades unconsciously or consciously I tried to read books faster. It was also influenced by the (may I say, American) Accelerated Learning schemes that tell you that your success in life depends on how fast you read. Instead of reading words read sentences, and instead of reading sentences read paragraphs, blah blah blah.

Unfortunately, most of us do not have photographic memory, and unless you are reading Hardy Boys, there are nuances in the words, metaphors in the story and characterizations that you will likely miss. Over time I realized that reading fast was the  reason, I had no memory of what I was reading, or understanding, I just read a novel for the sake of story, missing the bigger points and metaphors.

Now a days I find myself taking weeks to finish a book, that I would probably finish in a day. I also tend to read books for a couple of hours before moving on, instead of trying to finish it in one or two sittings. This gives me more time to mull about the content, and sometimes do some research on the sidelines as well. I am no longer unhappy with my reading pace, and find myself enjoying the process of reading a lot more.



One response to “On Reading Fast

  1. Absolutely. I really agree with this. I have had the transition as well, from the past 5-6 years. In college, it was all about as many books. Now, its as much quality books. Even the read for a few hours and break is something I follow as well. Nice someone wrote this out 🙂

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