Boxall's 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die discussion

Archives > How do you read/how much do you read a week/do you avoid tv? Various questions

Comments Showing 1-45 of 45 (45 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Ed (new)

Ed | 23 comments I've been asking my friends but I'm interested in your response to these questions in a discussion mode:

I've been wondering whether people who love to read a lot of books read quickly or slowly. How many books do you end up reading...a book a week or more or less? How long a day? Do you skim through most books or word for word? Do you watch much tv? I'm going to try to increase the number of books I read. Have a very restful holiday full of wonderful books!


message 2: by Robert (new)

Robert | 6 comments I think I read quickly, but how do you tell? I usually read about five books at once, and finish more than one a week. I've almost entirely stopped watching tv, but I think the Internet has become a bigger time-waster for me than tv ever was.

message 3: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Oh, I'm interested in the answers to Ed's questions too.
I try not to watch much TV. There isn't anything I really love to watch.
My biggest draws are House and Law & Order.
Have a GREAT Holiday!!!

message 4: by Melissa (last edited Dec 24, 2007 09:14AM) (new)

Melissa (mahart) I'm a pretty quick reader too, if I'm reading fiction, teen books, or light nonfiction. I finish two or three books a week with a fair number of graphic novels thrown in. Basically, I try to set aside at least 20 minutes in the morning before work and at least an hour in the evening to read my main book and then I'll have some poetry or another book working on the side. I tend to read in big blocks on the weekends too, and that's when I'll read most graphic novels--in one swoop. It helps that I'm a middle school librarian, so if I'm seen reading at work for 10-15 minutes at a time it's not the end of the world. (And I like being a good reading role model when I have classes reading silently in the library!)

I read quickly but lightly... not quite skimming, definitely immersed but not attempting to memorize anything. I finish just about every book that I start. I watch a decent amount of TV and DVDs, but not as much as the average person, probably, and I definitely spend too much time on the internet.

Again, being a school librarian means that I tear through books on vacations and slow down during the weekday school year, but it's that steady daily reading that really gets me through a lot of books consistently.

Great questions! I love thinking about this stuff...

message 5: by Ed (new)

Ed | 23 comments Thanks.,..this question helps give me inspiration to read more. It seems a common theme is that people don't watch very much tv. When I went to various national parks last summer and we didn't have tv's in the cabins, it was amazing how much time we had to read, play games as a family, etc. It was so great. I guess I just need greater willpower not to turn it on in the background.


message 6: by Natalie (new)

Natalie (natshellok) | 10 comments Great questions Ed!
(1)I am a fairly quick reader but it totally depends on what I am reading. A book that is fairly light and fast-paced may take me a few hours while another book of the same length may take me many more hours. For example, I read Harry Potter 7 in one sitting but it took me a couple of weeks to read The Poisonwood Bible which isn't much longer, really.
(2)I read anywhere from 2 to 10 books per week but bear in mind that I spend half my life reading because it is such a focus of our homeschooling. And, I preview much of what my girls read. I don't restrict what they read much but I read it so we can discuss.
(3)The creation of DVR (TIVO) was my downfall. I watch way too much tv. And once Lost and House come back, it's only going to get worse. I am absolutely with Robert, though, the internet eats up much more time than the television.


message 7: by Lindsey (new)

Lindsey | 2 comments I like to think I read quickly. It sometimes kills me because I teach high school English and have a hard time trying to stay at the same pace as the kids. If I am reading a flippy book(non-bookstore find, supermarket checkout) I can do it a few hours. If I am reading something from a dead white guy, (ie, Renaissance type lit) it takes me longer because it just isn't my cup of tea. My speed depends on how immersed I am.

I only read about a book a week but not for lack of trying. I too am one of those people who reads multiple books at a time. Currently reading, Abstinence Teacher, Atonement, TKAM, and a variety of teaching books. Being a first year teacher has sucked a bunch of my reading time out of the schedule. I went through about 50 classic novels this summer and it burnt me out a little reading for work and not so much for fun.

Additionally we TIVO. A huge blessing. The nice thing is that my roommate and I both enjoy reading so we can have quiet time and crank out books fairly quickly. I try to sneak in my reading at school during my plans and when the kids are working on something!

I hope that helps!

message 8: by Jennie (new)

Jennie | 8 comments What interesting questions...

My reading pace varies widely. I can read a big, fluffy novel (like the Time Traveller's WIfe) in a week, but other things need more concentration. I work in academia, and my schedule is drastically reduced in the summer, so I spend a lot more time reading. We turned the tv off last April, and I can count the number of times it has been on since (It's a wonderful life is one right now, but it's Christmas Eve, and we need to mask the sound of us bringing in Santa's haul). We turned the tv off because of the kids, but we have benefitted just as much as they have.

message 9: by Ed (new)

Ed | 23 comments I really find Jennie your post to be an inspiration in terms of turning the tv off. It seems to me to be a case of almost wishing at times I didn't have a tv since I so easily turn it on while opening mail, etc. and then get sucked into it or leaving it on while doing other things but really if I put on some music I probably would more quickly grab a book than if the tv is on.

message 10: by Dita (new)

Dita | 1 comments I don't really know if I'm a quick reader. And I don't have a certain number of books to read in a week. It really depends on my activities. After school exams is the best time to read loads of books because I usually don't have much to do. But I try to finish one book in one week. there's a lot of great writings I must read!About tv, I don't really like watching. I think most of the programs are not that good. So I guess I prefer books... Not that I avoid tv.

message 11: by Jennifer (JC-S) (last edited Dec 25, 2007 06:13PM) (new)

Jennifer (JC-S) (jenniferjc-s) Hi Ed and others,

these are great questions. My answers take into account over 50 years of life experience (about 47 years as a reader). While I can read quite quickly, it depends on what I am reading and what other events are happening in my life. Novels I can devour at the rate of around 100 pages an hour, but more substantive reading material can take much longer. I tend to read three or four (sometimes more) books at once and I tend to finish three or four books a week.
Reading is my escape from the world, and I would usually spend a couple of hours a day (at least) indulging in it.

I don't watch much television. I learned to read some years before my family acquired a television and watching television has never really replaced reading as entertainment for me. Except .. that I've now acquired an eyesight problem which makes reading much harder (and slower) and television is providing me with some respite.

Reading more is, I think, a great objective. But the enjoyment of reading is more important - in my view. The worlds I have discovered through books are far richer than the ones I've found through television or cinema - most of the time. Television is not intrinsically bad: it provides pleasure and learning to many of us.

Happy reading to all!

Jenny in Canberra

Kat (A Journey In Reading) (ajourneyinreading) | 17 comments These are great!

I am in graduate school, so my nose is constantly in a book of one type or the other. I am a fairly quick reader and I tend to remember much of what I have read.....except for things for my research class...go figure! Since this past Saturday, I have finished 3 books so far and just started my fourth one tonight and am half way through it.

Depending on what else I have going on...I read at least a couple of hours each night for fun...and a couple for school.

As for tv.... there are two shows that I watch each on Thurs and one on Friday....other than that.... I dont watch tv too may be on...but it doesn't have my attention. I literally can tune everything and everyone out when I am reading.

message 13: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn | 2 comments I read probably a total of three to four hours a day, although it's usually split into many short segments. I don't seem to have the chunks of time I used to have. Probably finish two books a week; some of my reading time is newspapers and magazines.

As for TV, I do watch it "in passing", while I'm doing other things, or I watch DVD's because I really hate commercials.

My fave current (or recently current!) TV shows are Grey's Anatomy, Dexter, and Private Practice. I prefer hour-long shows that have some character development. LOVED Big Love!

My fave reads are also the equivalent - big books or preferably series that allow for character development. Delderfield is a fave author. Currently reading Rosamunde Pilcher's Winter Solstice, my big fat Christmas read.

message 14: by Carol (new)

Carol Evans I tend to read one or two books a week, not counting ones I read with my daughter. I usually watch about one tv show an evening.

message 15: by Amber (new)

Amber (amberpic) | 20 comments I'm a quick and voracious reader, and I've noticed that I read things that I'm interested in more quickly than things I'm not interested in, independent of the weightiness of the subject-matter. I've also noted that if I try to force it...tell myself I have to read so much in a certain period of time, I inevitably slow down. And that I'll go through phases when I'll read non-stop, and then need a break for a couple of weeks (I'll read magazines then). I think you have to be organic about it, or it will take all of the pleasure out of reading, and then what's the point.

I read most books word-for-word, and I often read things 2 or 3 times. I know that brings my book numbers down, but I come away with a better understanding of it, and my life experiences between readings influence my opinion of it.

If the TV's on and I want to read, I'm generally able to tune it out.

Some things I've done in the past to increase the amount of time I have to read are:
1) If you have a commute, take public transportation and read on the bus/train.
2) Carry a book with you at all times, and then if you're waiting (at the doctor's office, for an appointment, etc.) you can get some reading done.
3) Eat a quick lunch and read during your lunch hour.

message 16: by Amber (new)

Amber (amberpic) | 20 comments I forgot to add:

4) Read at the gym. My husband (who IS NOT a reader) reads his James Bond books while he's on the bike. The bike or stairmaster are best for this, but I've seen others who read on the elliptical machine or treadmill.

message 17: by Tani (new)

Tani Like a lot of other people have mentioned, I tend to read at different speeds depending on what I'm reading. The more into a book I am, the faster I'll read it. I read word for word, unless I'm rereading something, and then I'll skim. I used to skim over most descriptions when I was a kid because I tend to find them pretty boring, but then I realized that I was missing things by doing so, and that made me stop.

I watch a fair amount of TV. Not a lot, but maybe an hour and a half a night, and whenever I can catch my favorite hockey team on TV. I think it's a pretty good alternative to reading because it doesn't require as much concentration and that's always a good thing after a long day.

One thing that's really helped me to read more this past year has been the 50 Book Challenge, which I found in January of last year. Basically, it's exactly what it sounds like: a challenge to read 50 books in a year. I actually just counted up my books this morning, and I've read 59, which amounts to a little more than a book a week. I like the challenge because it allows me to read whatever I want to read and even though you're supposed to read about a book a week, it doesn't set any real deadlines. All it does is remind me that I want to read, and that's all I really need from it. And like Amber was talking about, being reminded that I want to read gets me to do so whenever I get the chance. I always read in the car (when I'm not driving!) and I have a book with me pretty much everywhere I go, just in case I get a chance to read it.

Goodreads also helps me a lot. I like to read the recent reviews and see what other people are enjoying. If something really catches my attention, I add it to my to-read list, and just knowing that list is there motivates me to read more so I can get on to the next book.

message 18: by Ana (new)

Ana | 23 comments what a great question!

I try really hard to slow down when I read because I used to just fly through books and I felt like I was missing something :-) so I go through about 1 to 2 books a week (usually just 1) When I'm not in school, I try to read a little more. T.V. used to be a distraction for me, but I've learned to just keep it turned off-otherwise I'd never get anything done :-)

message 19: by Donna (new)

Donna I read 70 to 90 books a year. If I've said I've read a book, then I've read it word-for-word. This does not count magazines (Time, Newsweek, Atlantic Monthly) which I also tend to read cover to cover. Don't watch much TV except late-night newscast and Nightline. My biggest chunk of reading gets done after dinner until late into the night. I use up many itty-bitty book light bulbs so my husband can sleep. I tend to read fiction much faster than nonfiction.

message 20: by Ed (new)

Ed | 23 comments Thanks Amber for those ways to increase my reading time. I also may try reading before going to sleep though I'm not sure if I'll avoid falling asleep....could go to sleep now...too much turkey/food/cookies. Happy New Year!


message 21: by Bronwyn (new)

Bronwyn | 18 comments Ed,

If you're curious about your reading speed there are some fun tests online to measure that sort of thing. Type into google "reading spped test" and many will pop up.

As for your question, I read about two books a week. I find I read faster as I get into books. I'm a restaurant manager so I don't have a lot of time.

My 2007 New Year's resolution was to read a book a week and I totally passed that a while ago, I think if you set fun goals for yourself, you end up reading more. I also started a book journal, so I could track my progress and write my thoughts and feelings on books. It's actually been a really fun experience.

As for TV, I hate it. I try to watch as little as possible! I'd rather spend my free time reading or with my fiance.

message 22: by Hectaizani (new)

Hectaizani I think I'm a pretty fast reader. This year I've read 135 books so far, slightly down from last years 159. Amount read per day varies, I try to put in a couple of hours at least, but sometimes find myself too busy. I almost always read a few chapters before bed. I watch very little TV, if I'm in the mood I'll pop in a DVD and watch a movie or catch up on a TV series. I prefer to watch without commercials and in chunks, since it's easier to keep the flow of a show when you view one episode right after the other.

message 23: by Jim (last edited Dec 27, 2007 07:40AM) (new)

Jim | 6 comments read book at speed based on difficulty/comprehensionability/importance
some books read pretty fast but others slower depending on how much i want to retain.
read Postman Always Rings Twice pretty fast but then saw language/sentences were great/explosive so slowed down.
Read Unhooked about hooking up because I have college age/12 yr old daughters - didn't like content but one day just decided to finish it
and did. read it somewhat slowly to really let material sink in because it was important/relevant and wanted to have material straight when talked to my daughters about their friends and them. Good book for parents and for cultural analysis.

I don't watch much tv and when I do unless I'm really interested will be on computer at same time.

message 24: by Sarah (Ceekayy) (new)

Sarah (Ceekayy) Rains (ceekayy79) I'm new to this website so this will be my first posting......Woohoo!!! I usually read a book a week, depending on the book. I recently finished The Roman which was a good book but took a while to read. As far as how long I read a day it really depends on my day. I'm a single mother of 2 kids so sometimes I have zero time to read and other days I have a few hours. My mom taught me long ago how to speed read which is mainly skimming the words and leaving out connection words such as the, a , of. I read the entire Chronicles of Narnia in a day by doing this. As far as tv, I dont really watch a lot but like most people in this thread I do watch House.

message 25: by Fanny (new)

Fanny Herdina | 1 comments depends..
on an excellent mood, i finished a book a day
on wourse mood, i could take weeks to finish a book
but i read several books at a time, so when i need funny stories i read light book, when i feel a need of inspiration i finis other book.
on average i finish 3-5 books a month

message 26: by Salma (new)

Salma It honestly depends on the book- if I like it, I'll stay up all night- if it's going slow, it'll take me months (I've been reading "Lolita" for years). As for number, it's famine or feast. I've always read voraciously- in the summer I'll go through one a month- the number goes up in the winter.

message 27: by Ximena (new)

Ximena | 2 comments love the question. I usually read 2 at a time. I belong to a book club so I one book has priority over the other. It takes some time for me to read and finish, I have a 2.5 yr old so its not as fast as I would like but I prefer to read over watching TV. Presently the book club is reading Eat, Pray Love which is great but I am so jealous of the idea of being able to eat and travel and not think of the price tag. My easy guilty reading pleasure is the Nanny Diaries :)

message 28: by Ed (new)

Ed | 23 comments I think setting a goal is a great idea. I'm going to try for 50 pages a day.

message 29: by Christina Stind (new)

Christina Stind | 183 comments I read fast but as many others, the speed depends on what I'm reading. Currently I'm reading a Dragonlance novel and I read them really really fast. More serious novels take longer time and when I'm reading for my master thesis, I not only slow down but I prefer reading it when I know I have some uninterrupted time to do it.
Since finding goodreads I've been reading so much more that I used to, just like I did when I was a kid - books and reading have really become a priority.
I read on my morning and evening commute (about 15 minutes by train), I read in bed most nights and also part of the evening most days, I read while watching NFL games at the moment and doesn't watch much TV besides that actually at the time - TV watching will pick up as some of my favourite shows returns after christmas.
Uh - and want to buy House! ;-)

message 30: by Salma (new)

Salma What really sucks is that I would love to be able to read on trains, but I get nauseous doing it...:-(

message 31: by Violette (new)

Violette | 1 comments yeah, me too. I've found that eating Minties or anything with a mint flavour really helps.

message 32: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Salma wrote: What really sucks is that I would love to be able to read on trains, but I get nauseous doing it...:-(

The vitamin B6 is good for motion sickness. My son has this problem and I give him B6 when we have to drive somewhere. He especially gets ill if it's the morning. Just a suggestion. As Violette mentioned mint also helps. It is a natural digestive aid.
When I worked in NYC and took the subway, I read so much more because my commute was 1 1/2 hours each way. Good luck to you in the New Year

message 33: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Christina wrote:Uh - and want to buy House! ;-)

I found it quite interesting that there are so many House fans in this group. I'd like to get a count if possible.
So I'll start this list. Add to it if you are a House fan.

1. Barbara

message 34: by RandomAnthony (last edited Jan 02, 2008 09:43AM) (new)

RandomAnthony When I was a teenager in Chicago I read on the bus and El constantly...I love the lull of the train as it passes through tunnels...perfect for reading.

I don't take public trans very often anymore, so I keep a couple books in the car, too, usually books I know well in case I snag a couple of minutes waiting for the kids to come out of school or something. I also always carry my books to the office and sometimes can snatch a couple minutes at my desk or in the library.

I've never watched House, but I bought the first season on DVD on sale on Black Friday...I've been planning on watching while working out. Thanks for reminding me:)

message 35: by Cecilie (new)

Cecilie | 12 comments i read all the time! but i still have time for tv. its so many shows i want to see so i just have to watch some. and barbra i to love house! in norway it goes on to channels, one showes from season one, the other have season tree :D love it!

but i read as much as i can; the subway, cafe, bed, airplans, sofa etc. i have started college now so it gets bit less reading. but now while christmas vacaition i have read 4 books in 2 weeks. i try to read "war and peace" now but i feel that i never get anywhere. i can read for 2 hours and still i just have gotten through 20 pages. i get done with a book in one day if i read non stop, so im not used to spend so much time with a book!

house list:
1. Barbra
2. Cecilie

message 36: by Nicole (new)

Nicole  I'm a fairly quick reader. In fact, I thought I was very fast until I met my partner and her mom.

I'm always reading; usually have between 3-5 books going at any one time.

I'm a teacher, so I get way more reading done during vacations. I've read many books this break, but it will be slowing down as school starts again next week.

We watch TV about twice a week. The rest of the evenings are spent reading, with an occasional game thrown in. We always read in bed, right before sleeping. It provides a nice end to the day.

message 37: by Marts (new)

Marts  (Thinker) (thinkersutopia) I've got to read before bed time, its a must do, also since I'm doing quite a bit of studies, I put in some tv to sort of "relax the brain" a bit.

As regards being a quick reader or not, I think it depends on the book. For example I'm currently on "Mrs Dalloway" and I love it so much I could read faster but I'm taking my time.

Also I don't read one book at a time, so my current combination is also a factor.

message 38: by [deleted user] (new)

I'm a slow reader :( I want to read faster, but I find myself not wanting to miss a word, and I slow down. I read every day to and from work, and sometimes read in bed (something I used to do religiously as a child, but which I do less and less as I get older).

message 39: by [deleted user] (new)

Oh, and TV. I'm terrible - I watch TV every day. It's so relaxing for me. However, I often read at the same time as watching TV. Am I the only person who does that? My brain gets too bored just watching shows, so I often have a book handy and pick it up periodically (during adverts, when I'm bored of channel-flicking, when it's an episode of Simpsons I've seen a thousand times already, etc).

message 40: by Dianna (new)

Dianna | 83 comments I am a fast reader but for me it depends on the book. I can read some books in a day or two but other books I have to plod through. Right now I am reading A Study of History by Toynbee and I'm on page 360. I have been reading it for a while (a couple of months). It took me 4 years to read Faust. It took me 2 days to read To the Lighthouse and about a week to read Babbit. I have been known to read a book while susbtitute teaching (on break) but those are generally juvenile lit. books.

message 41: by Kecia (new)

Kecia | 45 comments Great questions Ed!

I read faster than some and slower than others. 2007 was the first year I ever kept a record of the books I read. I ended up with 66 so a little over one per week. But I certainly don't keep to a schedule, Gone With the Wind took 2 weeks but Persepolis I read in less than 2 hours. I like to keep a novel in the living room by my favorite chair, a collection of short stories at work to read during my lunch hour, a book of poetry haning around for those moments when I want something quick, and then something that needs a lot of reflection (currently The Divine Comedy) on my night stand.

I don't watch much television. There are a few programs on PBS (Masterpiece Theatre, of course!) that I watch. No network television at all, and I don't have cable or dish. I love to watch sports. With sports I'll often read with the television on mute so I can look up between chapters to see what's going on.

I've really enjoyed everyone's responses to the I don't feel so much like the Lone Reader.

message 42: by KHoopMan (new)

KHoopMan  (eliza_morgan) I'm so glad this question was posted! I was developing a serious insecurity about my read-speed!! I stopped reading for a few years (I used law school, the bar exam and work as my excuses), but I've decided to return to the world of the literary. I picked up Middlesex and was instantly reminded of my love for reading, but it took me a month to slog through it! I'm reading Blindess by Jose Saramago now, and I'm starting to pick up some speed. I love to read every word, and to really think about what I'm reading so I can get something out of the experience. I don't do the skim-through technique. I realize it will take me two lifetimes to get through the 1001 List, but I'm really looking forward to re-discovering some Classics. And, of course, I'm psyched that this website exists!!

message 43: by Chloe (new)

Chloe (countessofblooms) | 140 comments I've been tracking my read speed for the past 8 years and I've been really disconcerted to note an increasing drop in both the number and speed with which I read.

I went from a record 130 books (1 book every 2.81 days) in 2005 to a meager 52 books (1 book every 7 days) in 2007. I can justify this decline partly by my entry into law school at the same time as I am holding down a full time job, but the reading addict in me still screams at the neglect. I've also subscribed to a lot of magazines over the past couple years which definitely cuts into book time.

I have a lot of different methods for reading. I always keep my book-of-the-moment with me to read in lines, at traffic, waiting for the dentist, etc. I also keep a book in each of our bathrooms to read, short stories are best for this.

My wife watches a lot of TV- Lost, Grey's Anatomy, South Park, etc.- but I've always been really good at tuning it out when I want to read something.

I've found that I can read fiction a lot faster than non-fiction. Especially Sci-Fi. I can read a scifi/fantasy book on a lunch break where a history or philosophy book takes me a good 2-3 weeks to get through.

message 44: by Jen (new)

Jen | 7 comments I'm pretty sure i am a slow reader (although im not sure what is considered fast). I was a terrible reader as a child, they (i dont know exactly who 'they' are) gave me bifocals because they thought i couldn't see, but it was actually because i couldn't read. but, that only made me more determined to become a good reader.....

we dont watch tv (too cheap for cable) but i think the internet sucks a lot of time out of the day.

Logan, i am actually the opposite of you, i read sci-fi unbelievable slowly but history and some philosophy quickly.

message 45: by Antoinette (new)

Antoinette | 1 comments 1. I am a slower reader, but I read several books at once, I sometimes lose interest and never finish a book
2. I probably read 10 hours or more per week, if I have an entire 2 days off a week I might read 15, I read magazine articles and newspapers on the weekends which take away from my 1001 book reading time, I do not know if I am currently reading anything from the list.
3. I have been sans TV for 4 years no I have not seen that commercial...

back to top


Boxall's 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

unread topics | mark unread

Books mentioned in this topic

Gone with the Wind (other topics)