Haliburton County Living: Reading Speed and Connecting with Books

Sherrill’s Shelves

Sherrill Sherwood

The discussion with my cousins and aunt was lively as we sat around conversing about various books. Someone asked whether I read fast or slow. I’m not sure if because I work in the library they thought I had the “correct” answer, but when I replied that I read slowly, there were exclamations, finger pointing and the fast reading culprit was centred out.

I did add that we should read as fast or slow as we want, it’s our own personal preference.

QuietI have discovered that I read non-fiction (factual) books faster than fiction books. I pick out non-fiction based on my instincts that the material will affect my perspective of the world. When the book is delivering for me, I can’t put it down. I can’t wait to read the next revelation. It’s very exciting for me.

Two titles that I sped through recently are Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain and The Spark: A Mother’s Story of Nurturing Genius by Kristine Barnett.

Quiet has allowed me to appreciate my introverted side. Surrounded by many extroverts, I appear “unsociable” to them because of my need for quiet time to reflect and recharge. I don’t defend my position anymore since devouring Quiet, it’s simply the way I am (introverts unite!).

The Spark connected with me as the author defiantly refused to follow along with the experts who The Sparkbelieved they knew what was best for her young son, diagnosed at age two with moderate to severe autism. Kristine took her son out of special education and allowed him to learn through following his passions. If you look up Jake Barnett on the internet you will see the result. He is a genius, with an IQ higher than Einstein’s, and is now able to articulate what he knows, changing the world of science. The author gave me insight into the world of autism, made me question our education system’s one size fits all mentality, and also allowed me to personally feel the heartache of the most recent recession in the United States.

As I continue to dissect my own slow versus fast reading habits, I urge you to do the same. Do you enjoy audio books or does the slower pace drive you crazy? Does your reading speed change if it’s for work as opposed to pleasure? What about backlit tablets or on the computer in contrast to printed pages? Be aware of your patterns – they may surprise you!

If you want to compare your reading speed to the national average, check out this test (hint – you can Google Library Lowdown Sherrill’s Shelves to get to my article and this link easily); http://www.staples.com/sbd/cre/marketing/technology-research-centers/ereaders/speed-reader/index.html.

Quiet and The Spark can be enjoyed at any pace in print form through your branch of the Haliburton County Public Library or in e-book format through OverDrive on the library website www.haliburtonlibrary.ca. Quiet can also be downloaded through OverDrive in audio.

*Originally published in Haliburton County Living on September 12th 2013

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