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. 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 Journal, Booklist), 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