Turtle or Hare: How does your reading speed compare?

Over the weekend, I bounced from book blog to book blog, cheering on participants in the read-a-thon.  As I went along, I was struck by how fast people were chewing up the pages. 

To be honest, I thought I was a quick reader.  My parents always commented on my reading habits and  I can polish off a book in a day or two and still remember it a few weeks down the road.  After reading some of the updates from read-a-thon participants, I began to have my doubts.  Some bloggers were finishing two or three books in a 24-hour period.

During a normal week (including a weekend), I can get through two or three books. 

Do people who read five and six books a week ever sleep?  Are their laundry hampers spewing forth dirty clothes that threaten to overrun the house?  Do they serve frozen pizza for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?  How can they manage to get everything done and still have time to zip through War and Peace and five other tomes in seven days? 

How many books do you read in a typical week? 

Share the trade secret, friend;  I want to be a reading savant too!

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28 responses to “Turtle or Hare: How does your reading speed compare?

  1. I did the read-a-thon, too, and I thought I would read more, but I still managed to read 5 books, around 800-900 pages total. But of course, the read-a-thon’s context is different than real life; you’re not supposed to do anything but read, and blog a little about it! No cooking, no laundry, nothing.

    On regular days, I can’t read as much. I do get a lot of time for it on my way to university, which is between 45 minutes and 1 hour of subway and bus ride, twice a day.

    I think some people just read a lot faster; I know I do in french!

  2. So glad you raised this question because I’ve been wanting to know! I average about 40 pages an hour (20 pages if I’m reading Dickens!!). 🙂 During the read-a-thon I was able to read over a page a minute, but I was also reading fluff most of the time (and a graphic novel). I really really wonder, though, those people who read a book a day if they ever get anything non-bookie done!! Do these people do anything besides reading? I think some people are just really quick–my sister-in-law is a book a day kind of gal.

  3. 1 or less. I am not that fast of a reader unless the book is a real page turner- short, easy and hard to put down.

    Lately, I have been reading a lot of chunksters. 🙂

  4. If I’m not pushing it, I can read a book a day. But I also read a TON of information online (blogs, articles, etc.)

    If I am not reading for pleasure, however, I need to read material twice. My typical quick read-through for context and nuance, and then a more thorough strategy for notes, outlines, etc.

  5. I only made it through 1 and part of a second during the Read-a-thon.
    I’d say depending on book size, I usually average 2 books a week. I usually don’t read much on the weekends though.

  6. Anywhere from 1.5 to 3 a week. Hardly a reading savant.

  7. I normally read 2 or 3 books a week, at a rate of about 100 pages a day. It depends on the book though, some have tiny print, and some thrillers encourage you to skim read a bit.

    I normally read for about 2 hours a day – an hour in the afternoon while my son is at nursery, and an hour before bed.

    My husband reads at twice the speed I do though, so I think I might be a bit slow – or read books that require more thought?

    So that’s just under a page a minute. I don’t know how some bloggers read so much – I’ve always wanted to know too!

  8. I read quite slowly – a couple of chapters a night usually, it’s all I can do what with work, parenting and other stuff.

    My current fiction book is “Winter in Madrid” which is taking me a while to plough through, it’s okay, but not engaging enough – it’s easy to put down.

  9. I normally read 3 to 4 books a week. I don’t normally start reading until about 8 in the evening and then I can normally go until about 11. I very rarely watch TV anymore, so I can average 150 – 200 pages a night on a good night.

  10. I read faster when I was in high school. My average during the Read-A-Thon was 55 pages an hour. And it does depend on font size, words to a page, etc. How much/fast I read is dependent on the other crap going on in my life!
    I was actually amazed how many cheerleaders were able to leave so many comments everywhere!

  11. I think I’m average – I can read a book every 2 or 3 days. There are times when life does get in the way, though. Our son was home last weekend and I hardly got any reading done.

  12. my speed depends on the depth of the book and my interest level.
    ie. Just finished “Dogs of Babel” in near-record time. However, “Ahab’s Wife” took me like, a month.
    Not that I didn’t like the latter, but it was so, specific, I felt like I had to take my time.
    Plus, the print was really small.

    My bestie goes through books like I go through cookbooks… I don’t get it either.

  13. I’m definitely a hare. It depends on where I am in my life, but I’ve definitely gone through period when I read multiple books in a week. I feel like the more I read the more quickly I can do it.

    Some books are slow and it takes me awhile to get through them. Or, sometimes life is really busy and I don’t have as much time to read (which I don’t like one bit!).

    I’d be interested to know if anyone else reads multiple books at once? Here’s what I’ve got going on right now…I’m reading a book for work (text), a book for therapy, a book on my Kindle, a long, long book that I’m trying to get through, and a book for fun. Usually I just have about 2 books, but do other people read more than one at a time?

    Also, does anyone have a Kindle? What do you think of it?

    http://positivelypresent.typepad.com

  14. Nat, I wondered the same things! I’ve decided that I’d like to time myself over one hour and see how fast I read. There were several people who read around 10 books in 24 hours and I think it’s unbelieveable!

    I used to read only one book at a time. However, I’ve started reading multiples. I almost always have an audio book in the car, and a text by the chair, sometimes more than one. Then, I’m usually in the middle of one on my Kindle too. (Yes, Positively Present, I LOVE my Kindle!!)

  15. I’ve wondered this a lot too! I know I have less time to devote to reading than the most book bloggers, but I always thought I was a pretty good reader nonetheless. When I was in my ultimate reading groove, I was able to finish a book every 2 – 3 days (approximately 100 pages read a day). But really, I think it all balances out to me reading 1 -2 books a week. I’ve been in a massive reading slump lately, however, so it’s been some time since I finished a book – nothing has been striking my fancy!

  16. I’m not a book blogger, just a reader. And I read on the slow side because almost everything I read is for pleasure– let me rephrase that: What I mean to say is that I don’t ever just skim or read something superficially, even dry academic materials or obligatory items. If it’s worth reading it’s worth reading well.

    I don’t like reading anything out of compulsion and so I either don’t read it at all (c.f. my “problem with authority”) or I convince myself that I want to read it.

    Uh-oh. I think I just outed myself as psychotic again.

  17. I sometimes wonder the same thing! How do people read so much in a week!? I would have loved to participate in the read-a-thon just to see where I measure up (and be able to dedicate a whole day to reading), but I unfortunately had to spend the whole weekend painting the kitchen. Blah.

    Anyways, I average about 2 to 3 books a week depending on length (I usually read 75-100 pages a day in a good, not too busy week). This week, I’ll probably only be able to finish one book since I’m reading Voyager (third in Outlander series) and it’s almost 900 pages…

  18. My reading pace depends on other factors such as the depth of the book, the author’s writing style, my interest, and my mood. I got to read a lot in the read-a-thon because I picked short books with short pages and big fonts, and read graphic novels and poetry. If it was a regular novel, I usually average 1 or 2 a week, still, depending on the above factors.

  19. On an average week, I read between 3-5 books, but it really depends on what I’m reading. I’m much faster with authors I’ve read before or series books, I think because I’m more familiar with the territory, so to speak. With a new author or book, I’m looking at every little thing trying to figure out the characters, getting a feel for the author’s style, etc. That tends to slow me down.

    So far this week I’ve read three books, for a total of about 800 pages. All three of these were pretty fast reads — two middle grade books by a favorite author, then one book by a new to me author. The writing was so good and the story was so compelling that I breezed right through that one in two days despite the fact that it was over 500 pages.

    Also, fiction vs. non-fiction is a factor as well. I read a lot more fiction and can read that faster than non-fiction. Again, I think this is a case of being on familiar ground.

  20. I read 2 to 4 books a week depending on life…being a mom and blogger do get in the way! I am hardly a savant – but I love to read.

    Someone asked about the kindle. I LOVE MY KINDLE and have posted about it on both of my blogs. I still read and purchase real books, but I prefer my kindle for most of my reading! And the ability to grab a new book even at midnight!

  21. During the read-a-thon I read slightly more than a page a minute. I was slower on the non-fiction than on the YA. I finished 3 complete books and the last 60 pages of a 4th.

    However, my goal for the year is to average out at a book a week- 52 books. I did not meet this goal last year. I have two kids under 5 and a full time job and reading is what gives when somethings gotta give.

  22. When I get on a tear, I can read 3 or 4 a week but lately that pace has slowed to a glacial crawl…not sure why yet 😦

  23. I’m a fast reader. Hearkens back to my uni days when I’d often have to be reading 3 books a week for English as well as be wading through one or two for German. When time was tight I would plan to just read enough for the tutorials, but then would often get caught up and keep on reading.

    Now I’ve got two kids, time is even tighter. I can usually get through a chicklit or a YA novel in an evening. Books with amazing writing slow me up, as I keep going over and over passages. Currently reading Marcus Zusak’s The Messenger – it is one of those books that keeps me coming back to a well-turned phrase. THese books take me about 3-4 evenings to get through.

  24. I must be a slow reader…i read one book of 300 pages during the read-a-thon. maybe they took a speed reading course.

  25. I’m very selective about what I read. If I do not LONG to read it, I don’t usually bother. I like to savor each book, like some people do meals or wine. And when I read a particularly good book, I often feel very sad when I’m finished. Like having to say goodbye to a dear friend.

  26. I always thought I was a fast reader until I started blogging. Well, actually, that isn’t true. If I had more free time (like pre-kid) I could probably read much much more. If I didn’t blog, I could read much much more. As it is, I’m at about a book a week. : )

  27. I can only say that I wish that I had more time to read. But I also work full time and am the mother of two children….which equals me reading on my breaks at work and at night when the kids are sleeping. The internet chews up some of this time which means less reading. I’ve been online less lately and reading a lot more. Still wish I had more time to read though but then my family wouldn’t have clean clothes 🙂

  28. Generally speaking, I read A LOT. I don’t know how I manage, but once I get going, my reading speed is really fast.

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