style of reading

I read this article about reading recently (really). The author was talking about how we seem to read less, and this because there’s always something else to do, check e-mail, check news sites, check text messages. I’m not going to discuss that though. What I found interesting was at one point in the article he mentions that it always takes a few chapters for him to get into that reading groove, that reading a few pages here and there doesn’t work for him.

That led me to a sudden revelation. Had I been reading wrong all this time? My style of reading is exactly opposite his. I read at the dining table while I’m eating, I read during commercial breaks while watching tv, at school I would get to class and read for a few minutes until the teacher started lecturing, snatches of precious time in between other tasks. Have I not been getting as much out of books as I could have?

So I decided to try it. I would read a book for a long stretch. Ella Enchanted was a great book, I thought. I’d wanted to reread it for a while, and it was short enough that I could read it in a couple nights, because I couldn’t guarantee enough nights with time to read several chapters in one go for a longer book.

I read Ella Enchanted last month, most of it in one night. (I cheated myself and read a few pages before I’d finished the books I was reading at the time.) (I also stayed up way too late that night, but that’s another story.)

The result—I was pretty disappointed. I didn’t feel the story was any more real, or that I was further into the story. It was the same as always, a wonderful, beautiful story, but this time it was over so quickly. I didn’t get a chance to relish it and live in the world in my daydreams. It felt a lot more like I’d just watched a movie than read a book I loved.

My test may have been flawed though. Ella Enchanted is just one of those books I hate to rush through. My favorite books I always read piecemeal, to stretch out the goodness of the story. Except for The Count of Monte Cristo, that’s a whole different animal.

But in writing this I laughably realized that I have spent times reading many chapters of a book in one sitting. I just didn’t recognize those times as such because they usually start with me telling myself, “I’ll just read a few pages before bed.” Then the story gets me hooked so I spend a number of hours saying, “Only a few pages more, then I’ll go to bed.” Those are what I termed my “midnight rendezvous.” Heck, that was how I read a few Harry Potter books!

Comparing my two experiences, reading books in short little spurts versus reading nonstop for a long stretch of time, I’d have to say that I don’t notice much of a difference. Reading in bits and pieces is probably more work because I have to block out noise around me and focus on reading, but after a a sentence or two I’m fine and lost in another world.

I have to say I feel sorry for that guy though, if it takes him that long to get into his reading, he must miss out on a lot every time he has to start up again.

3 thoughts on “style of reading

  1. Stephanie

    Yes, I’m definitely also a little curious about people who are worried about other people’s quality of reading. Lack of reading a length of text like a book would be a problem, I’d say, but if people can read in short bursts of pages then who cares?

    I dislike reading a few pages of a book here or there because I’m always in a rush to get to where I’m going–in class I want class to start, on the bus I want to get to where I’m going, so I have trouble getting into what I’m looking at while I’m there. So I also read the most in large chunks, which leaves me a little dizzy sometimes, but I love being so absorbed in a world for a few hours. I must read a lot more intensely than I watch movies though, because with any book I get a lot more involved than a movie. It’s hard to explain.

  2. Jeidai

    I can appreciate any style of reading, if someone wants to read upside down in a sub, as long as there’s reading going on!

    Definitely, reading in chunks is very satisfying. I’ve recently started up reading late into the night again, I keep losing track of the time!

Comments are closed.