Jul 102014

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Does the pacing of a book affect your reading speed?

I find that this is very true for me. Last week really brought that point home for me. On Friday I finished a 560 page ARC (which translated to 410 pages in the hardcover version). This book took me 8 days to read, so an average of just 50-70 pages a day. This is really slow for me.

Compare that to the 200 page book I read Friday night in less than 5 hours. Or the 300 page book I read on Saturday in less than 10 interrupted hours.

I did like all 3 books, so it wasn’t a matter of like versus dislike. Instead, I found that the first book felt slow, while the latter two felt quicker, with faster moving action.

The plot of the first book was slower and more methodically laid out, with a lot of build up and explanation provided. It was a fantasy start-of-war story, set in an imaginary world, with complex political and social setups. In other words, it was an epic read. When I finished, I felt like I had just read a huge book.

In contrast, the second book was a character based contemporary romance, which is a style I find I can read very quickly. There is something about contemporary stories that requires less time making your brain comprehend them. They are filled with reality, and easy to understand situations and events, which I think translates to less brain strain.

The third book was a paranormal story with almost non-stop action. The fast pace meant I sometimes felt a physical response: my heart rate sped up and I could feel my adrenaline pumping, which in turn meant I read faster. Yes, my brain was required to work to comprehend the magical elements, but my body was primed to work faster, and so my brain complied.

I’ve rarely stopped to think about how a book’s pacing affects me, but when I do, it becomes apparent just how important it is. At least, it is to me. Is it important to you? Do you find a book’s pacing affects either your reading speed or your physical response to the book?

  4 Responses to “Discussion: Does A Book’s Pacing Affect Your Reading Speed”

  1. Days vs hours usually has more to do with what else I have going on, but the pace of a book will definitely affecting my speed during the time I do spend reading. I might spend an hour reading 100 pages of a fast-paced book, or only 50 pages of something more dense or literary.

    I usually spend fewer days on the quicker reads, but that’s not as strong a correlation.

    • Days vs hours can be hard to compare. I try to keep track of hours mostly, since the amount of time I spend reading each day can wildly vary. I find a huge decrease in reading speed for dense or literary books, especially versus something like a fast paranormal.

  2. Yes, this always puzzles me.

    I can read a 350 book in usually 2 days.
    But yeah some book just seem to take forever!
    Like I am reading one now “Annabel Horton, Lost Witch of Salem” (I think thats the title).
    It is a fantastic book! But it is taking me forever to finish! I swear that 420 pages feels like 1000.
    But you are right, it is very detailed and very interesting – it makes you literately want to read every single word.

    • I think I have that book on my ereader! Good to know it’s a great book, even if it takes a while to read.

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