Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Speed Read

I'm now 355 pages into Deathly Hallows, but I'm still nowhere near finishing this book. Devoting about 2-3 hours a day reading it, I can't help but think about the people who have been able to read all 700+ pages in a matter of hours. How in the world can people read so fast and remember what they read?

For me, when I read, I try to imagine what I'm seeing. Rowling has a wonderful way of explaining the world of Harry Potter and I want to be fully engulfed in that world. I try to read every word, but tend to skip over a few words here and there describing people's reactions to dialogue (ie, "Ron twitched" and "Harry sighed"). Not only that, but I'm trying to remember six books worth of material as I read this one. Rowling skillfully reminds the reader what's what without insulting those who have read the previous books over and over again. Still, there's a lot of information flying around my head.

I remember a few years ago hearing from a friend that he read The Sorcerer's Stone in one night. I found that to be an incredible feat; he thought it was just an easy read. Not me: it took me a couple of weeks to read the whole thing. I argue I'm reading and processing the whole thing at the same time. It takes me a while.

So, for you readers, can you read a book at a brisk pace and remember what you read?


Py Korry said...

I've learned to read very quickly and retain what I've read. This took a long time to learn because I was a pretty slow reader for a long time.

However, my daughter and I are reading Deathly Hallows, but are taking our time. Plus, we're reading to each other out loud, so that generally slows things down -- but in a good way! :-)

stevie said...

I'm a very fast reader with a good memory, so that's my story. For the most part, I read fiction very, very quickly. (I read "Twilight" by Stephenie Meyer the same week as Deathly Hallows, for example.) Even stuff that's literary and dense, with few exceptions, I tend to tear through quickly. I read "Atonement" by Ian McEwan and "Never Let Me Go" by Kazuo Ishiguro in a week.

Nonfiction takes me longer, for some reason, as does very long, dense books for adults. Jonathan Strange took me about four months, but I was only reading about a chapter a night. Maybe it's things with footnotes that take me longer.

jen said...

i'm with stevie. i read the first 3 harry potter books in less than a week and retained the bulk of what i read. it's just how i've been since i was young.

personally, i've noticed that, especially with fiction, i visualized while i read, so that even though things may be altered as i progress through a book, everything falls into place quite easily. of course it's also why i have a problem with a lot of books-to-movie adaptations -- things just don't look the way i thought they would...

Kev said...

I read all of Hallows in a very long Saturday this past weekend, and, while I couldn't recite it to you verbatim, I'm pretty sure I remember the gist of everything. It helps that I've been reading since the age of three, I think. I tore through the first four Potter books in about a week and a half, if I recall.