I read an incredibly thought-provoking entry yesterday from Eva about her reading process which really got me thinking about my own reading experiences.
Before I started my blog and my reading of the classics, I usually read whatever I could get my hands on. I do have a mixed collection of books, mainly because I don't like to limit myself to a genre or two. Of course I have my favorites. I love science-fiction and fantasy, as well as history and historical fiction. I also love young adult fiction and a good chunk of my 1200 book collection comprises of that.
Since I would read such a variety of books, I was constantly switching gears in my head. I would change the way I would perceive a book based on the genre and level. I would never read a young adult novel the same way that I would read one of my history books. One requires more thinking and brainpower than the other.
I have always said that reading a 400 page young adult novel is an entirely different experience than reading a 400 page book on WWII. My reading speed certainly changes as well. If I am reading a novel that is a little lighter, I can read nearly 3 or 4 pages a minute. Give me a huge tome of description and detail and I can maybe read 1 page. It takes me a lot longer to decipher what I am reading if it is heavy.
You can imagine my frustration when I first started this process back in September. Suddenly I wasn't flying through 12 books a month because my read speed slowed way down. Many of the books I have been reading are taking me longer because they require more attention. Where I would usually take a break in the past and read a trashy novel to give my mind a break, now I just keep pushing through. The result is the slowing of my overall reading pace.
I find it truly fascinating to think about this as I talk to other bloggers. If we were to all compete based on our reading speed and how fast we got through books, would anyone take into account that some books are "heavier" than others? It certainly is a lot to think about.
However, I have also seen a huge change in how I am processing the books I am reading. I am forcing myself to slow down and truly appreciate the language. Part of the reason so many of these books are deemed "Classics" is because of their innovation and writing style. They are time capsules of the era in which they were written and I am trying to appreciate that as much as possible as I read them.
Because of this, I find it important to not only talk about my overall thoughts about the books when I finish them, but my feelings as I go through the process. Reading is a process. That is something I am trying to capture as I go through every title on my list. That is why I make so many posts about each one. My thoughts and feelings as I read influence every thought and feeling I have when I finally shut the back cover. I am finding it valuable to chronicle those experiences, so I may reflect on them when it comes time to compose my final thoughts and review.
I am sure that parts of this sound like inane rambling, but I so appreciated Eva's post that it truly got me thinking about how I read the books in front of me. I hope that you got something out of this and I encourage you to share your own thoughts, or go read her original post.