I am an incredibly slow reader, and for me finishing a book of an average kind of length can take anywhere between one to three months. This is something that many of my friends and family are surprised to learn, mostly because I’m such an avid reader and because I write incredibly quickly. So what’s going on then?
The thing is, that when I read a novel I like to do it properly and to feel fully immersed in the book. Too many people I see reading a book on the tube, dipping in and out of the narrative while chatting to their friends or asking people for the time, and too often I see people really just skim reading the content without actually taking it in.
When I read I like to word out every line in my head in the imagined spoken voice that I think that person would have, and I like to imagine it all in detail. I read every line, and I sound out every comma and every italicised section to sound the way I think it should and to add or remove emphasis accordingly.
And to do all this I also like to set the scene perfectly first so that it’s ideally conducive to being able to really bask in what I’m reading. Here is how I do it…
Sorting Everything Out
First of all, before I sit down to read I like to make sure that I have no pressing concerns weighing on my mind and potentially preventing me from fully enjoying the experience. As such then I will run around quickly to finish any pressing chores and I’ll tidy up the space around me to be clean and organized and to give me space to breathe. Only once I’ve set aside myself some ‘bubble time’ with no potential stressors, I then turn off my hone and sit down to read.
The Perfect Lighting
The perfect reading lighting is a tricky thing to accomplish. On the one hand it’s got to be a dim enough light that I feel cosy, but meanwhile it mustn’t be so dim that it causes eye strain. This means then that it should be a kind of mellow glow that relaxes me but still enables me to focus.
I also like to make sure that wherever I’m sitting is super comfortable. There’s nothing quite like reading in bed, but then at the same time a comfortable couch or even a bean bag can be just as good, so long as it’s easy to recline.
That said I do also have another place I like to read – coffee shops. Though they aren’t silent the background chatter and clinking of mugs can often add a little atmosphere to the experience and make me feel almost like I’m in a novel myself. The mysterious stranger in the corner, buried in his book…
Finally I must make myself a cup of tea. Being a serious caffeine addict, when I drink caffeine I tend to feel all the tension leave my body and it’s a great way for me to unwind and make any moment better.