Friday, August 25, 2017

I Just Want to Read ALL THE BOOKS

I've just finished my 104th book for the year, beating my Goodreads goal of 100, and well onto my way of passing my # from 2016 (which was 160). And, you know, I'm pretty happy. Although I always hope to hit 200+ again like I did in 2014, the last few years were difficult, and I wasn't reading as much. And even since 2017 has started, I haven't been reading as much I've wanted to, especially given the backed up review copies on my multiple TBRs. I try hard, though, but I also know that if I don't let myself slow down a time or two, it's only going to make it worse when I'm stuck in a reading slump. I've kicked back against those already a few times this year, and I hate them as much as anyone. But I also like to make sure I've got a good balance of books and life. For missing precious moments because my nose is stuck in a story is not good. It's a careful balance, and one that I'm starting to perfect, but I still want to read as often as possible.

I know that I'm not the fastest reader in the world, especially when I look at a few people's numbers and wonder how the hell they've managed it. (Seriously Rashika, how did you read nearly 400 books in 2013?! yes, hello, my friends and I are stalkers, NOTHING IS SACRED). And I KNOW it's not about the numbers anyway. At least, for me, it's not. I'd much rather have quality over quantity, but to tell you the truth, I read A LOT because I just have so many books I want to get to. Yeah, I also might be competitive with others (hi Shannon) and definitely myself (I'm constantly striving to top that 2014 goal), but it's more that I'm just too interested in ALL THE BOOKS. It sucks to realize that I probably won't be able to read all of them in my lifetime, but I can damn sure try. I've gotten good at culling out my TBR and removing those I don't think are for me anymore. But there are still way too many books, and not nearly enough time to read them all.

So I've gotten a lot faster over the years, and I've learned my habits so well I can figure out how long it'll take me to read a book and be pretty spot-on each time. Typically, I'm very consistent. A 300 page novel will take me roughly 5 hours, give or take a few. That's a page a minute, and I've found that it doesn't tend to stray far from that pace. But there are quite a few extraneous variables that can change it.

1. The pace of the story. This is a huge factor in whether or not that I'll finish a book faster or slower than I anticipated. I just read Whichwood, and it was 360 pages, but it was really fast-paced and such a readable story that I finished it in like 3 and a half hours. Like WHOA. So yeah, if a book has pacing issues, it's going to affect how long it'll take me to read it.

2. How invested I am. Another huge factor! If I'm simply not interested in the story, what motivation do I have to finish it? Especially if I don't end up DNFing. Man, then I really start to regret everything. And even though I want to be done just so I can finally move on, I will still read slowly, or in bits and pieces throughout a few weeks or months. It's the wooorst when I feel like this. :(

3. The downhill rush toward the ending. Do you ever notice that the last 50 to 100 pages go by faster? Or is that just me? I've found that I tend to read faster the closer I get to The End. It's like the authors speed up the story once they've hit the complex, and it's all a smooth glide from there. I'll look at the time I'm done, and realize it took me at least 20 or 30 minutes less than I'd expected. Maybe it's just the fact that I KNOW I'm almost finished that I want to get there even faster. But this happens so frequently that I wonder if it's more than that. Have you guys experienced this too?!

4. The format. If you look at Illuminae and get intimidated by the size (it's 600+ pages, YIKES), I'll tell you a secret: it's a lot easier, and faster, to read than you think. Of course, that's dependent upon you liking the story enough. But that book took me hours less than I thought it would. Because of how it's formatted, it is so fast-paced that it doesn't even really give you time to slow down. Another one was 5 to 1, which was both prose and poetry. I love books like this honestly!

5. The genre. This is not always strictly true, but I definitely read most contemporaries a lot faster than I do, say, fantasies. Because of the intricacy of world-building in anything that's not realistic fiction (though I don't discount the buildup you have to do even for books set in the modern world), they're not as breezy to read through. And sometimes, you can get so bogged down in the details and the background that you wonder if the payout will be worth it. tbh, it generally is, but it doesn't make me want to read complicated, puzzles of stories when I can read another book in half that time. So sometimes I will definitely choose a short(er) book instead.

Have you guys ever noticed any reading habits like this? Do you think the latter half of a book goes a bit faster? Do you think genres can make a difference? How are you doing on your Goodreads challenge? Let's talk! :)

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