This is sort of a post to address a question that’s come up frequently not only in the comments section and on social media, but also in my emails with authors. It seems to be a question on the tip of everyone’s tongue for me: How fast do you read? I guess it seems pretty crazy to most people that I review almost a book a day. So first off, let me start with my life story.
I was a very reluctant reader, but that’s an entirely different story. However, once I actually got reading I took to it like a fish in water. My elementary school had an excellent reading program, but they liked to keep everyone in grade one and two on the same level. The program lasted for grades one and two and they never, ever advanced any grade one past level 13 because there were 26 or 27 levels. So even if I could proficiently read aloud from a book in a level the first day I got it, I would have to read almost all 20 books in the basket for the reading assistants to even consider moving me up. (These were picture books, mind you.)
Still, I managed to reach the last level by April or May of grade two and that began my mother’s bitter fight with the school to get me some challenging books. I believe that was one of the only fights she ever lost with the school because the reading assistants would not pass me until I read every single book in that level, which carried me on to the end of the year. It was incredibly frustrating for an already frustrated and thoroughly bored eight year old.
I really started to shine in grade three, when the school librarian finally let me read whatever I wanted. That was the year I read the Harry Potter series (well, as many books as were out at the time), the first Narnia book and so many others. Since I, like many bookish people, didn’t really have many friends, books became my friends.
There’s not much to tell after that. I’ve kept on reading whenever I have the time, despite working six days a week and trying to have a social life. No, I’ve never taken any speed-reading courses or read books on speed-reading. I just read really quickly, I guess. For those of you that are wondering, I’ve broken down my average reading time below:
I average about 100-120 pages per hour, depending on the level of the book. For something as involved as Colleen McCullough’s The First Man in Rome it’s more like 90 pages per hour, but something simple as Abandon by Meg Cabot it’s more like 130 pages per hour. Middle grade novels can be as much as 200 pages per hour, but that speed is really stretching my reading comprehension skills.
The average young adult book I come across is 300-400 pages long, so at around 110 pages per hour, I can get through it in 3-4 hours. For a book like The First Man in Rome (which is about 1100 pages) that means I can read it in 11 hours, or about a week of reading if I prioritize other books I can review more quickly.
Reading is my talent, just like some people are really talented athletes or musicians. My question to you guys now is: how fast do you read? Do you know? Or how many books do you read in an average week/month/year?