Why You Should Read for Yourself

On the Sword and Laser show, and goodreads forum they mentioned a tool to check your reading speed. I took the test, and got from 260-310(I took it twice with two different passages) which is slightly above average.

People on the goodreads forums were getting anywhere from 400-700 words per minute. Now I started feeling a bit inadequate.

But one of the posters brought up an important comment, that how interested and how energetic the reader is drastically changes the reading speed. Based on my wpm the site suggested that I could read War and Peace in around 35 hours. OK I thought, seems about right. Then it suggested that I would be able to read 1984 in 6 hours, which is something I didn’t do. It took me much longer than that.

I’m thinking that this is because the book(although I enjoyed it) was not good at keeping my attention for long periods in most sections, and I usually read it at the end of the school day when I was wiped. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that it took me 10 hours to read that book.

And that’s OK I think. I’m completely comfortable being a slow reader, although I wouldn’t mind being faster. I read about a technique that speed readers use in which they no longer hear the words in their head(if that makes sense), but that sounds horrible to me, at least in the context of reading a novel. I love making voices for characters in my heads to read their dialogue in(and that usually just happens in good books). And I feel I would lose a good deal of the enjoyment I get from the books I chose to read if I threw that away to be able to read more. Because I’m not reading for anyone else, am I comfortable reading slow and enjoying it for myself.

A larger topic I’ve been mulling over recently is just that: you should read only for yourself. Unless of course you are reading something for a job or school.

I used to finish books no matter what.

Now I’m comfortable putting a book down if I’m not enjoying it after a sizable portion hasn’t grabbed me. It’s the same position then that I’m taking with reading speed. Of course I would like to be able to read more books in the limited time I have, but the reading experience I have is one I cherish. I implore you to think about your reading habits, and remember that in the end you’re doing it for yourself. So do what makes you happiest.


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About Devin

Devin, the mastermind behind most things on here on the website has almost no free time! He spends what little time he isn’t studying, recording podcasts, editing videos or writing articles for this site, on watching TV, playing video games, reading books and being a general nerd. Devin loves table-top roleplaying games, non-laugh track comedies, dark fantasy, science fiction, roleplaying, and puzzle video games, and really anything else you see on wegetgeek.com.

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  1. A Skimmable Note on Slow Reading « Wandering Mirages - August 27, 2012

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