Thursday, January 1, 2015


I'm a member of a cool Goodreads group, which brings up the question of book reading goals. I've never set goals. I've never had to. I'm an avid reader, and purely by accident, a speed reader. During the most stressful and worst times in my life, I've only read 1 or 2 books a quarter.

Right now I'm facing the peculiar time crunch of a mom with a toddler. Reading, even when she's engaged elsewhere, is something of a challenge because of the noise. I can't read when the TV or music is on. I can do it if the subject matter is light and fluffy enough, but intense books? I need quiet. As a result, although I've maintained a high reading pace (10-15 books a quarter), I'm not reading as much non fiction as I normally do. Non fiction requires more intense concentration as well as a longer reading period. A Christopher Moore novel? Five minutes here and ten minutes there gets me through it just fine. A Cynthia Bourgeault book? Even with my speed reading, I need at least 15 minutes of uninterrupted time to process the concepts. So, all that to say, my goal for this year is to create time to read more non fiction. My non fiction stack of book is piling up, and this year I'm going to cut it down!

And a note on the speed reading thing - I always knew I was a fast reader. It was never something I set out to do on purpose. I believe that I developed the skill by reading a lot. I was actually in grad school and got the chance to take an extra mini course on speed reading, so I immediately signed up (fortunately, it was free). I read all the reasons that people read slowly and didn't recognize myself. Then I started with the advice. I calculated my reading speed for the initial test and was surprised to realize that my current reading speed was the GOAL reading speed for the class.

Is it a problem? I suppose it could be. I think speed reading might be the reason that very few books make me actually laugh out loud. I see the humor, and maybe crack a smile, but since I'm flying through the novel, I don't laugh. On the other hand, it could also be that I just am not easily moved to laughing. There are certain authors that always bring a smile or laugh to my face: Anne Lamott, Martha Beck, Christopher Moore, Jenny Lawson.

So there you have it, Internet. More non fiction books in 2015!

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