Speed of Reading

I wrote recently about how fast some of my friends can read. I’m jealous of them and their speed reading.

This post isn’t about that.

I’ve noticed that some books read at different rates than others. I’m going to highlight a few choice examples, just to illustrate this further.The Diesel Read. Books like Grudgebearer are rare. It takes a little bit of time to get going during each reading session. If you’re going to sit down with a book for a while at a time, reads like these will keep going and going once you’ve had a chance to rev them up.

The Long March. Books like Steven Erikson’s don’t read fast for speed readers or mere mortals. They often provide challenges that reward readers with greater complexity or bigger payoffs. The amount of time devoted to a single reading session doesn’t alter the enjoyment or the pace. Reading these works takes time, but it’s often worth the investment.

Warm Up, Good Journey. Some books require an initial investment of time and effort on the part of the reader. No writer has ever been more guilty of this than Stephen King, especially in his more iconic works. Books like these have to establish things before the pace can pick up. It might be introducing a setting or a group of characters, but there will come a point where things in the story take off and the pace picks up.

A Marathon of Sprints. Sometimes books are written in small blocks. Dune was initially released as a serial where readers could only take in a chapter at a time. These chapters are the sprints, but the story as a whole is much longer. Some writers build short chapters just to take advantage of this trend, but the books I’m thinking of pull this off with the pace of their writing as much as where the breaks come in.

This isn’t an all-inclusive list by any means. Got any other types of books you can think of?


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