Do you consider yourself a slow or fast reader? I’m a slow one, and I used to use it as an excuse whenever I borrowed books from friends, or whenever they’d ask me what I was reading. But now I’ve decided, it’s not an excuse, it’s how I read, and it’s a badge that I proudly wear.
As I’ve been doing these reading roundups, I’ve noticed how many fast readers are out there. I couldn’t believe folks were reading 12 or more books a month. How? I figured these were the independently wealthy, but then I noticed audiobooks counted as reading, which is fine by me, but I still didn’t understand how they were doing it.
Then I noticed the type of books being read — romance or beach reads. Is it fair to call them easy fiction? And hey, no judgment, often I need something light after work. But then I was privy to a conversation a couple of colleagues had about speed reading. Ah-ha! That’s how they did it, but it broke my writer’s heart. I doth protest. “Those poor writers who agonize over every word, only to have it skimmed over, not even read properly, or appreciated.”
One of my colleagues, by my recommendation, said she started reading A Memory Called Empire, but she skipped the prologue because it didn’t make sense. I encouraged her to go back and read it, but the novel is filled with challenging and quirky excerpts from the author’s world building imagination, so I wonder for the sake of reading as many books as possible, if she will.
Again, no shade, but it makes me wonder why we read and how. I started watching YouTubers who favor slow reading. My husband has been expressing his dissatisfaction with Twitter for artists, but on WordPress (and even YouTube) he receives more nuanced feedback.
I won’t be surprised if our over-saturation and “need” for information creates a movement in the other direction, much like the slow food movement.
After reading A Memory Called Empire last month, I dug into Arkady Martine’s second installment A Desolation Called Peace. It picked up where the other one left off, and equally impressed me. We know sequels and followups to, say, winning the Hugo Award are difficult at best, but Martine delivers a one-two KO punch and nabs the Hugo Award again. First time authors should be so lucky. Le sigh.
Highly recommend Martine’s Teixcalaanli Empire for her excellent writing, storytelling, and world building magic.
Why do you read? And what did you read in November?