Monday, August 10, 2009

Through the words slowly

I’m a slow reader. That doesn’t mean that my reading speed is slow, just that it can take me a long time to finish books. At any given point I have probably half a dozen books at varying points of completion.

I blame television—well, I suppose I should blame all non-printed media. Collectively, they’ve helped to shorten, not my attention span, but my “patience span”: I simply get bored with books at some stage and stop reading. Sometimes I pick them up again, mostly I don’t.

Many, many years ago, I thought that having several books on the go was a good thing; I said it was like television—being able to “change the channel” to whatever I was in the mood for. Maybe that was true, maybe I was kidding myself, but in any case, if a book ends up on that pile now, there’s a good chance it won’t emerge until I put it back on the bookshelf.

This is the main reason I don’t have a “What I’m reading” thing on this blog. I’m sure that I’d get embarrassed, more often than not, by how long a book stayed there, or the book might suddenly disappear from view without another word from me.

None of which is to suggest that I don’t finish books, because I do. I don’t mention them all here, necessarily, but I hope to mention more. To do that, I need to actually finish more books, but this may take some time. I’m a slow reader, you see.


d said...

Perhaps you aren't reading books that interest you enough to keep going? There are quite a few I have abandoned simply because they sucked.

There are many others, though, where the characters are so compelling that I miss them when I'm not reading the book. Those are the ones I can't put down. :)

Arthur Schenck said...

I think it's all about my attention span. I can plough through magazines or articles—even on websites—but I just lose patience with books.

I've never read much fiction, I realised recently, apart from short stories (because, of course, they're short). And sometimes I've lost myself in fiction, too ("Dracula" which I read when I was around 11 or 12, the "Tales of the City" series are ones I've mentioned before).

To be honest, I've found myself reading more of books (if not complete ones…) lately than I have in a long time, but that's not really saying much. Oh, well.