Jun 28, 2012

Time to Read

How long does it take you to read a book? Any book. A book you love, a book you must read for a class or a research, a book you read for your book club if you are in one, a book you must read for work (there are such)... Are you a slowpoke reader or a speedy-spider?

With few exceptions, I have always been a slowpoke reader. Some people read - for instance - the Harry Potter books in a matter of 1 to 2 weeks each, and I read each of them in an average of three to six months. There are books I started reading years ago - decades ago, probably - and I haven't finished. However, my average for books is normally a couple of months. And I love reading. Back at the University I had already realized that I read an average of 20 pages per hour, though at work I normally work at a speed of 5 to 10 pages per hour, depending on how many comments I need to make, and how much research I do next to the reading. (Yes, whenever I read something at work, and that something makes reference to an earlier project or research, a law or a Standard, I look it up and read it, analyze the connections and comment on them. If the quote is wrong, then I add extra research to correct it. I also check on the maths of the documents, and that's also time consuming.) There was a time, then, back in the 90's when my reading speed in Hungarian was of 100 pages per day (this day refering to my waking hours, and that normally included around 10 to 8 hours of reading, as much as I could muster between classes, and reading while walking on the street - a dangerous art, if you ask me, but some books worth it). So yes, compared with people who read 800 pages in a day, I'm one of the slowest of the slowest.

Then, no matter the maths, I was reading slower and slower. While at the office, I normally choose to eat alone in order to take the luch hour to read. Our of the 45 minutes of the lunch hour, normally some 15 to 20 are spent on going to where you will eat, so that leaves 30 to 25 minutes to read. I read every day, and still the books would travel in my bag for months. Why? Because I'm a slowpoke.

Then last week, as I read the book our preacher lent me, I realized that I'm not such a slowpoke, that I could very much read a book in a week (and average 350 paged book in 4 days). Today is the premier of Headhunters, a movie based on the book by the same title, of Jo Nesbo. No, I haven't finished it, but I started it two days ago and didn't have that much chance to read it. Still, I'm 2/3 into it, and if I get the time, I'll probably finish it by Saturday. What I realized was that I was relating to reading as a "filling" activity. Yes, I have designed times for reading, such as in bed before I turn down to sleep, or at luch, but these were all times where reading itself was a "thing to do while". And though I love reading and I looked forward to these moments, these times could be easily swapped. I would sit with a coworker I like, so we would chat while having lunch, or I would turn down to book before sleeping so I could watch a movie or a series I like.

Now I could say "I'll go running and then I'll read until lunch" or "I'll read a couple of hours after lunch", or even "I'll go to Starbucks, have a coffee and read for a while". When I made myself time specifically to read, I realized that I go faster through the books though I read with the same speed. One could, of course, fall into the trap and say that that's because I don't have to go to the office now, but that's not the point. You are not all day at the office, and just as you make time to go home, do some errands and prepare things for the next day, go to yoga, or to the latest classes you've enrolled to, you can also decide that after dinner, or as you get home, you'll sit down a read a little.

But that's not only for reading but whatever hobby we have. Go running or jogging, take a moment to practice sewing or knitting, or working on your scrapbook project. Paint, play piano... you name it. Don't make your hobby something you do on stolen minutes, something that can be easily shut off because you are too tired or too sleepy, but give it a slot of your day, a box in your schedule. You see, not only working and responsabilities are important in your life. Your hobbies also deserve your attention.


Sartassa said...

Oh dear, that’s a tough question. I’d say it really varies – like a lot! When I am on holiday and decide to take one day off sight seeing (which as you know very rarely happens) I can finish a book in a day or two. When I work and don’t sleep a lot so I fall asleep on the train, it can take me 2 to 3 weeks for a medium book. Right now I am reading “War of the Worlds” which I borrowed from my brother and even though he warned me that the first half of it is terribly boring, I decided to give it a try. It took me 3 weeks for the first 200 pages… we’ll see.
So do you read more than one book at a time? I couldn’t do that. My maximum of multitasking is the following: 1 letter to reply, 1 book, 1 magazine … and blog posts of course but they’re short compared to the rest. I always wonder how people can manage not to mix the stories up.
Not so long ago, I did something I have never done in my life. I grabbed my book, which I wanted to finish that day cause it was on my 13things to do list (yeah I do that now, but I’m not really successful) and got myself a nice table in a café with some mocca and read. Alone. In a Café. There’s always time for first-times. People stared though … :D Haha, maybe they were jealous of me being capable of putting those letters into a story in my head … dunno.

Storm Bunny said...

I travel towards tea and you take a walk down Coffee Lane? How awesome is that! As for the List of 13, never mind if you don't keep it. I have failed a couple of points here and there, and that helps me think about what went wrong. Maybe you were taking on a lot, and you don't have all that much time. Never mind, just break the purpose into more "doable" bits for the next List! (This is actually a great way to feed the next lists!)

My Second list actually came together thanks to the lessons learned from the first and the complimentary list. ^_^ I bet the 13th one will be Perfect! Then, the next 1st list will be a fun one to do! ^_^

I do have read more than one book at the same time. The stories didn't mingle because I read the books in different moments and different moods. It's like watching more series at the same time. You don't mix Dr. Who with Star Trek, right? Well, it's the same! (just make sure not to read similar books, like starting to read two Jane Austen books at the same time!)