Monday, July 20, 2009

Reading somewhat faster.

I have always been concerned about my reading rate. I have always wanted to improve it, I have always been very jealous of rapid readers. I did actually read rather fast when I was 15 and mainly read fantasy; back then I had way more confidence when it came to my intellectual capacities than I do now and I often read one book in a day. I even had more confidence when it came to my language abilities, which is quite funny since I was merely bilingual back then.

When I was 16 or 17, my boyfriend at the time gave me a speed-reading book. By that respectable age, I was already a nervous wreck when it came to my reading speed. I was almost a bit reluctant to start the book since I was convinced I would just fail at it – which I also did. It’s hard to say why exactly (except for bad attitude) because I worked rather hard with it (the method included making texts with columns and increasing your eye span ), but I think that in the end the whole thing is made me feel stressed and reluctant about reading which was really not the point to begin with… however, Thom recommended this site to me and on it you can find another speed-reading book. Since I do a lot of reading and since I am soon to become a student at the University of Oslo I thought it would be too silly to not even give it a try. So that’s exactly what I’ll do and I will evaluate the progress here on my blog.

My starting point seems to be a good one, my reading speed is rather average and according to the book I should be able to make a lot of progress. In case anyone was wondering, I can manage 240 words per minute when reading English nonfiction at the moment. I know very well that I do a lot of conscious regression when reading, but I’ve always felt incapable of stopping this bad habit. I did not, however, know that you should be sitting up all the time! I don't even have a desk to sit at, nor a normal table, so I'm not sure what I'll do about that.

Oh well, here we go!


  1. Good luck with your endeavour, and happy speed-reading. In the meanwhile, I am trying to slow my reading down, to taste every single word - speed-reading to me is like speed-drinking a glass of wine. ;-)

  2. When I was in my teens, I used to be able to read quite fast. But now I wouldn't dare try speed up my reading. As I got older, something happened, and my attention started drifting away more and more often when I was reading things that did not interest me at that moment. I did not have this problem when I was younger. I used to be able to study almost effortlessly. I am not sure what has changed. I blame it on the internet, and the ever growing flood of information we expose ourselves to every day ... Too often, I don't read any more, I just skim. So I'd simply be afraid to try to read faster. I'm worried it might make the problem worse.

    Have you ever experienced anything like what I just described?

    But reading fiction is of course different. The letters disappear from before my eyes, and things start flowing on their own :)

    Good luck with your speed reading! Let us know how it's going

  3. I understand what you mean Leo, but when you are reading nonfiction in particular it can be very handy to read quickly - if you have to read perhaps a thousand pages a week for example :-)

    Halabund, I have practically no attention span left! When I was younger I could read for 10 hours straight without any problem, nowadays I am happy if I can manage 20 minutes... I'm not really sure what happened, but I miss those days. When I read fiction these days I feel how I sometimes read extremely fast, but it's like I can't really accept that, I don't really believe that I understood what I just read, so I go back and reread at least once. Also, I should point out that I extremely rarely read in any of my strong languages at the moment, at least when it comes to fiction. I only read fiction in Russian and Hungarian and of course that takes some more time...

  4. Do you really read fiction in Hungarian? Hats off! :-)

  5. Well, I'm reading a bilingual text of Jane Eyre and it's a really slow process! I can spend ages on a paragraph, but sometimes I actually understand several sentences or a paragraph with out the English translation, and then I'm very pleased. However, this book isn't really easy in English either... sometimes I read a couple of sentences in English that mostly just make me go "wtf" and then I know that Hungarian will not be much fun... usually, dialogs are fine, but at the moment a lot of the text is about describing old furniture, dreary weather, the inner sufferings of the main character, and so on.