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On Being a Slow Reader

I am a slow reader. I’ve never had any trouble with reading, I just take longer than many to finish books. Most of the time, this doesn’t matter, but it does mean I have more trouble than other librarians at keeping up with the latest book trends.bookstack I thoroughly enjoyed taking part in The Hub Reading Challenge earlier this year, but I didn’t complete it. I’m usually the one to hear about a cool new book rather than recommend it.

But I’ve decided I don’t mind being a slow reader. I still want to stay on top of recommending books to my patrons, though, so here are some tricks for those other slow readers out there:

  • Read reviews instead. It’s hard to make myself read reviews regularly (after all, that’s more time that I’m not reading books), but a book review is a lot shorter than a book, and a good book review will give you enough of the book’s flavor to know who it might be a good match for. Reviews can come from journals (School Library JournalBooklist), blogs (The Hub, of course, but there are tons out there), or fellow readers.
  • Use selection lists and awards. YALSA’s extensive book awards and lists are a mine of good YA book suggestions. While I might not be able to make a recommendation for a specific reader just from inclusion on an award list, I do know that if I’m going to take the time to read a full book, the ones listed here are worth my time.
  • Get the patrons (if you are a librarian) to recommend books to you. I might not like every book a patron recommends to me, but I do enjoy many of them. And those that don’t turn out to be a perfect fit for me give me a better picture of what to recommend for that patron.
  • Put a book down if you aren’t enjoying it. This is hard for me. I like to finish books I start, so I’ve started being more selective in which books I’ll pick up to read. But I have also slowly started to abandon books that I’m really not enjoying. Life is too short, right?

Most importantly, remember that life is not a book-reading competition. If you read regularly and enjoy the books you read, then you are just as much a reader as someone who’s “completed” stack is twice as high.

-Libby Gorman, currently reading Mars Evacuees by Sophia McDougall

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4 Comments

  1. I am with you! I read so slowly and I also read several books at once because I’m such a mood reader. I recently subscribed to VOYA so I could read more reviews since I’m at the point where I just can’t make myself read books I’m not enjoying.

    • Libby Gorman Libby Gorman

      I’m there with the “mood” reading, too!

  2. Becky Becky

    I’m in this camp, too! I used to be fast, when I was a teen. I’ve become a slow adult reader. And I love the term “mood reader,” @Laura — it’s so appropriate!

  3. Leyla Leyla

    I’m a slow reader too! I am glad to know I am not alone.

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