Monday, August 24, 2009

Speed Demon Not

I am not a speed-reader, a fast reader, or even at the slow end of fast. On the other hand, I do not use my right index finger to follow the text, hold the book upside down (I saw that on the NYC subway), nor do I move my lips when I’m reading.

I am familiar with the English alphabet, including the archaic æ and œ, and I know the meaning of a shitload of words. But despite some amount of intelligence, I remain a . . . medium reader. A middle of the roader. Neither for nor against. Joe Average. You get the idea.

I am not complaining, mind you. I am slower than faster because I love the act of reading—of allowing a few simple written symbols fill my mind with pictures that affect, and sometimes play hell with, my emotions.

I have a tendency, then, to dawdle occasionally when I read. Strike that. I am a terminal dawdler. I re-read sentences, or paragraphs, or pages that please me, as well as those I have trouble understanding. I use a dictionary (which I believe is becoming as archaic as æ and œ). I attempt to translate foreign phrases when the author doesn't do it for me. And I love reading accents ala Dickens out loud (Yorkshire accents are a killer—try reading Nicholas Nickleby). Reading aloud, by the way, is one of the things Martha does not allow in bed, unless she is out of town.

So I stay happy being medium because I am a happy reader. Even when the book makes me sad. Or mad—in which case I happily throw it in the trash.

How about some audience participation on this one? Are you a Wiz kid, a dummy, or somewhere in between?


Stinkypaw said...

I think that my speed of reading varies with my interest in the book. Overall I'd say I'm average, except when I can't put a book down, oh I know, I'm a marathon type reader: I can go on for a long time! Yeah, that's it!

BTW, you wouldn't be allowed to read aloud in this bed either, by neither Hubby nor myself! ;-)

Wandering Coyote said...

I'm medium, I think. Sometimes my concentration/attention span/ability to focus is shot due to you-know-what, so that can be frustrating.

kara said...

i skim WAY too fast that i often have to go back if i realized i almost missed something great. or even something mediocre but integral to the plot.

b-rock reads to me in bed. he does the voices and the accents. it's one of the many reasons i'm keeping him.

wildbill said...

A lot of my reading speed depends on what I am reading. Most of my fiction reading goes fairly quickly. I read some fairly thick nonfiction, mainly history, that goes much slower. I use a dictionary which slows me down but makes for a better reading experience.

St Jude said...

If you would like assistance with your Yorkshire dialect I am happy to oblige, being born and bred a Yorkshire lass it is my native dialect. However it is far easier to speak than to read and write. I mainly use the 'Queens' English, but I did rather enjoy on occasions whilst living in the South of England completely confounding them by speaking Yorkshire, unfortunately they all thought I was from Scotland???

Charlie said...

STINKY: I'll remember the no aloud thing the next time I'm over to sleep with you and Hubby. Thanks for the warning.

WC: Ditto.

KARA: I only skim books that are in languages other than English and I know I miss a lot.

Do you fast-forward audio books too?

WILDBILL: Talk about a pleasant surprise! Your statement, "I read some fairly thick nonfiction," is by far an understatement.

I finished Rain Gods a couple days ago, and you're right: I think it's his best book.

ST JUDE: You've given me a sample of Yorkshire dialect before and it reminded me of Chaucer in Middle English. I can understand the mix-up about Scots: Glaswegian dialect is no easy thing either.

Kevin Musgrove said...

A lot depends on the mood and the nature of the book. Fiction, if I like it, is read quickly. If I don't like it it isn't read at all. Non-fiction I take at a more leisurely pace. Not sure why.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I'm pretty slow. Part of it is due to the fact that I rarely have time to read more than two paragraphs before I fall asleep. Maybe I should try reading somewhere besides in bed.

If you like to read accents, you must read Trainspotting! It's written phonetically and you simply can't not read it aloud. Good times!

koonsmother said...

Well, you posted this on Monday, and I"ve just finished reading it. Does that give you a clue?

Tiffin said...

In my younger incarnation, I read fast and retained well. The me of middling years sometimes doesn't fire on all cylinders. If the book sweeps me away, I gallop along, totally absorbed. But if I'm a step back from it, I go at a leisurely pace. I've become far more of a mood reader too. Sometimes I start a book and then suddenly am just not in that kind of mood any more, so set it aside for a few days. This is a fairly new development. If I figure out what it means, I'll let you know.

I read all of the Canterbury Tales out loud back in my uni days. In fact, I think I read all Middle English out loud.

Charlie said...

KEVIN: I too speed up a little if the story is gripping, usually toward the ending of a good mystery or thriller. Slowing down on non-fiction may have something to do with having to remember a lot of facts or names, and the plots are usually fairly thin.

BARBARA: Try reading Trainspotting aloud in bed and, if your husband is like Martha, you'll soon be reading somewhere else.

KOONSMOTHER: We finally found the dummy in the bunch.

TUI: "Mood" is why I usually have 3 or 4 books in progress at any one time.

And WHY do they still do Chaucer in Middle English? Most people can't handle up-to-the-minute English.

Michael said...

Charlie, just saw photos of your library over at Peter's - clean and sharp. Like it very much.

Charlie said...

MICHAEL: Thanks very much for the compliment.