On Being A Slow Reader and Why I Am One

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I have not always been a slow reader. When I was in grade school – the time when I was starting to develop my love for reading – I can finish one Tagalog pocket book in one sitting (for my own standards, especially for a 6 or 7 year old, that’s fast okkk?) and then I can still continue reading another one after and finish it the next morning. But now, more than a decade in my life had passed, it sometimes takes me at least a week or more in order to just finish a 300+ pages novel. A month, even, when I fell in the hellhole of a miserable reading slump.

I think I started to become a slow reader around 2 years ago. Because in high school, I was pretty sure that I could still finish a Wattpad novel within a day. I cannot honestly think of the turning point, or all the reasons that lead me up to this point. And that’s not what this is actually all about. So, I digress.

What I am here for instead, is to talk what I think and feel about being a slow reader and
share with you the reasons that contribute to me be being one now. What I will be listing below are the reasons why the turning-20-year-old-this-month Karina have been reading like a turtle for the past year or so, and what she have been feeling and thinking about it.

But before anything else, if you are a slow reader like me who sometimes takes a week or a month to finish a single book, I want to say that:

THAT IS OKAY. If you can barely catch up to your reading challenge/s because of being slow, that is okay. You are not alone. You still have time. And please, don’t be too hard on your self. You are doing the best you can.

If your peers’ achievements of being able to read 50 books in just 6 months somehow pressures you, I want to remind you that what matters most is the enjoyment and pleasure you get from reading. If you’ll push yourself to read faster but actually feels more comfortable reading slow just because of the pressure, it’s honestly not worth it for your experience to be ruined.

If you want to catch up on your GR Reading Challenge, I suggest you read shorter books like poetry books, novellas or short stories instead of rushing to read that 400+ pages novel that you’ve been anticipating to read.

Lastly, even if you have only read 1 book or 10 so far, that does not make you any less of a reader than others. Yes, you are a slow reader and there’s nothing wrong with that and you shouldn’t feel ashamed. And no one should ever make you feel so.

What do I think and feel as a slow reader?

I do not enjoy being a slow reader. I have a looong looong list of tbr on Goodreads for me to afford being slow. However, this is just me. Aside from being a slow reader, I am also a mood reader (and just a moody person in general). Sometimes though, I can read fast than usual. I can finish reading 3 poetry books in more than 3 hours and finish a 300+ pages novel in less than 48 hours. But that rarely happens. That only happens when I am really focused and in a very good mood.

So far, I have only read 17 books this year, out of my goal of 40 for my Goodreads Reading Challenge. Just a week ago, I was actually 3 books behind. In my years of joining GRC, that’s the only time I remember that I have been behind my challenge. It made me feel disappointed of myself at first. And I hate seeing the words “3 books behind” on my GRC. So I immediately gathered all the determination I can get, purchased 3 poetry books, locked myself in my room and read. And that’s how, I managed to catch up on my Goodreads Reading Challenge! But sadly, I also joined the Year of the Asian Reading Challenge which I am so way behind and still planning on how to catch up to that. I was so excited for this reading challenge. And now, I’m just… disappointed of myself but not surprised.

Sometimes, it actually makes me sad. Because I want to read faster. I always feel like I am being left behind. Like I can see my friends on Twitter talking about how much they love these new releases simply because they have already read them and I want to join the discussion but I can’t. Because I still haven’t read those books no matter how excited I am to read them myself. It’s like they can talk about 20 books at the same time, then there’s me who can only talk about the same 5 all over again because they’re the only ones I have finished.

No matter how I don’t like it though, I’ve learned to accept it and just to not be too hard on myself anymore. I’m not saying that I want to stay like this forever because I DON’T. What I’m saying is, I am trying not to hate myself for it anymore. I am starting to actually see things and recognize why I am like this instead of just blaming myself like a kid. And I will never stop trying my best to get rid of the barriers that prevents me from reading faster and more.

What I have been further realizing though, is that we slow readers all have different reasons as to why we are like this. And that is why here I am, wanting to talk about mine.

Why Am I A Slow Reader?

  • I have other responsibilities and tasks I need to focus into.

As you may know, I just finally graduated this May. And to be honest, given that I do not have to attend classes, do homeworks or papers, and study, I expected that after that, I will be able to actually rest and feel like I am having the most awaited vacation of my life with my books and that I will be able to finally read more.

However, that just remained as a fantasy.

In reality, I still had to do few things to finally see our thesis printed and in hardbound copy; right after waking up and taking breakfast I have to clean our new puppy’s poop and feed him, feed our cats and kittens and do other household chores; and send resumes on line and write cover letters. When I am not doing these things, I am taking a break and just sitting in the corner or laying in bed or the couch either watching television or scrolling through social media because I feel like I do not have the energy and focus to read anymore. And sometimes, I just also do not have enough time left anymore. That is why, no matter how much I do not want to, I had to put the book I am reading, down.

  • I savior every words.

Comparing this to listening to an audiobook, it’s like I always read like I am listening to an audiobook in the speed of 1, sometimes less. I also read fast sometimes like listening to an audiobook with the speed of 1.75. But that’s the fast I always like to get. I like to take my time reading every lines and without being in a rush. Given that English is not my primary language, sometimes, depends on the writing, it’s actually hard for me to register any thought when I read really fast.

But the main reason is, I savior them because I love to feel. I am that girl who loves to feel everything. I like to carefully read everything in a smooth flow so that I am sure that I get every detail and that I get every feeling. This way, I also get to feel more that I am really inside the book. When I fast read a book, that means that I ain’t actually feeling it. Also, when I really like a series, I often do not read the next installment/s right away because I do not like them to end and I want to savior it first. I am included in the small population of reader who do not re-read.

So yeah, in short, I literally read slow.

  • My mental health gets in the way.

This is, for me, the hardest to control, conquer and has the most powerful impact. And also one of the hardest to admit. I am not a mentally healthy person. But I know that I have been doing way better these past few years of my life and I am truly, deeply, relieved and thankful. But still, the anxiety and depression is here. Always looming around every corner. And just recently, I have been noticing that my mind going blank and losing my focus, me feeling really really sad, my mood changing faster, have been happening often than what is usual for me in the past months. This is the reason why I cannot finish the books I had started. It really is hard for me to deal with. Sometimes, after being so happy, I suddenly get extremely sad that I cannot literally do anything. There are also instances where because of being extremely sad, I loose my focus and my mind just cannot seem to function. These are just some of the things I have to go through because of my mental health issues. And why, despite wanting so badly to read, I simply just cannot.
So, that’s it!

These are my thoughts, feelings and the reasons why I am a slow reader. I know you have yours too.


Are you also a slow reader? Would you like to share the reasons why are you? Or are you a fast reader? How many books have you read this year so far? Let’s talk about these below!

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23 thoughts on “On Being A Slow Reader and Why I Am One

  1. I think this is kind of the darker part of the reading community where all the hype and challenges and new releases may make some people feel bad and left out! I agree with you that the whole point is enjoying books no matter how many you read in a year. I am a fast reader but that’s because I lose interest quickly if I took a long time to read a book! I hope you get to read more fabulous books ❤

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  2. I enjoyed this post very much, mostly because I consider myself a slow reader too. I only have evenings to read, and only an hour if that. I have a house that because of my spouses’s health issues, leaves me to do all the cleaning, shopping, lawn mowing, weeding, meal planning and prep. Then, when I do finally sit to read, I feel guilty that I should be doing something else “more productive” instead and I feel anxious. Thank you for helping me put my slow reader anxiety into words.

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    1. Danielle, I can just imagine how exhausted you must feel because of housework everyday. 😩 Sometimes, I feel guilty too. But I really think you don’t deserve to feel guilty just for reading after you’ve done your housework! You deserve that time to read and pamper yourself, REALLY.

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this and that I helped you put your slow reader anxiety into words, Danielle! Means so much to me that I helped you feel something good even in just a very very tiny way. Hope you read more books that you’ll love! 💖

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  3. Take the time you need and enjoy what you read. I read a lot but I don’t read fast. I read every word and some books take twice as long regardless of the page number due to the content, while some books fly by all too quickly.

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  4. I’m definitely a slow reader, I can relate to many things you’ve mentioned, maybe except for the mental health part. But now that I am done with my final year, I actually read more than usual but again I like to saviour every word too 😂 So yea. But Karina, there’s one thing that I would like to say about the GR challenge. It’s just a challenge, it’s just a number, if you’re behind the schedule, it’s fine and I hope you bought those poetry books because you really want to and not just because the sake of the GRC.. Anyways, thank you for sharing and voicing out. I feel exposed now 😂

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    1. Thank you for pointing that out, Jessica! Those poetry books are actually on my tbr for quite a looong time. Me, realizing that I’m already behind my challenge just pushed me to finally move those titles from tbr to “read”. The pressure somehow turned to motivation, tbh. 🤣

      And I’m glad you’re reading more! Gotta really enjoy this “free time”. Haha I’m glad you you relate! I love exposing you haha 😜

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      1. Ahh then I’m glad to know that, I rarely read poetry books though, are those you read any good? 👀 Haha definitely needs to enjoy this free time 😂 Oh yes you sure do hahaha

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      2. Yes! Most of them are modern though because I rarely read classics. If you want recs, I can give you some! 😁 😝

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      3. Jessica, that is SO TRUE. It’s like a puzzle sometimes, really. 🤣 I’m not honestly the best one to ask for this but I suggest The Words I Want You To Keep by Gaby Compres (because I literally want ya to keep those words, luv!) and Nikita Gill books but specially Wild Embers!

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  5. I totally feel you with the mental health, but mine is the opposite! I think it doesn’t matter whether fast or slow, as long as you enjoy the book! I think I’m a pretty fast reader? It takes me around 3 hrs for a 300/400 page book and anything longer will take a longer time. I don’t really savour the words unless the story really interests me! I actually used to read slower, but with so many books on my TBR I think I just unconsciously end up speed reading!

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    1. If you don’t mind sharing, how is it opposite? Also, omg for only 3 hours??? With or without pausing? Either way, that’s great!! Mich, I didn’t know you’re a monster. 🤣 Saaame. With so many books on my tbr, I know that I have to up my game but I just can’t most of the time lol I’m glad to know you’re reading more and faster!

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      1. With my anxiety, I actually tend to read/ write even more and at a faster rate! 3 hours with a few pauses in between! 😂😂 As long as we enjoy the book, the time we take doesn’t matter!❤️❤️

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  6. Definitely nothing wrong with being a slow reader! I feel like you probably soak in a lot more details that way! Thanks for this post ❤

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  7. I don’t think there is anything wrong with being a slow reader. I can read fiction books exceptionally fast, give me a non-fiction book and I can take a long time per page as I find that the information difficult to sink in.

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  8. The speed I read completely depends on what I’m reading, and, as you pointed out, mental health can affect that too. I got through The Wicker King in less than two days (probably less than four hours over those days), but it was easy to read and follow, and a lot of the book was taken up with images and things, so it was an enjoyable, easy read. The book I’m reading right now is taking me longer – smaller font, and a more dense storyline, so I feel like there’s more to absorb. And I’ve been exhausted this week, and I have to make sure I don’t miss things when I’m too tired.
    But I also found, after reading The Wicker King, that I sort of felt drained a little, like I’d run a sprint. So sometimes it is important to try to slow down too. Absolutely nothing wrong with reading slowly, and you’re not alone in not always getting to read new releases straight away!

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  9. There’s nothing wrong at all with reading slowly!!! I have my ups and downs. Sometimes it’s a struggle to even finish a book cuz I take so long getting through it. Others I zoom through. I’m an emotional reader so that might be why. Thanks so much for sharing!

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  10. I’m a loud and proud slow reader! I can only complete 1-2 books a week depending on how big the book is. If it’s a 400+ page fantasy novel, I’m probably going to be reading that for 2 weeks. It’s really easy, especially in the blogging community to become overwhelmed seeing peers cranking out 1 review a day – but we readers should take the pressure off of ourselves and just enjoy the ride.

    I find that when I try to pick up my reading speed and bust through books any faster than I’m comfortable with causes me to miss details in the story, and it also makes it really hard to remember the story and characters in general. In 2017 I read 100+ books and I tell you I can’t remember the storylines of half of them. Recognizing that really put me into a slump all on its own. I missed the days when I was reading for pleasure – not to hit self-imposed blogging deadlines. This year so far is all about me. I’m reading what I want to read, and I’m taking my time with things again.

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    1. So, I want to add another paragraph, but it just sent my comment lol. Anyway, I’m also a slow reader most of the time because I’m swamped being a college student and a youth leader at the same time. It’s our vacation now, so I have a lot of time for reading again, and I thought I’ll finish more books now, but here I am, still stuck with 1 book for a week already. But, the book is a good read, it’s just me being slow on reading it.

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  11. Thank you for this post Karina, and I can relate so hard on my reading slowing down immensely over the last 2 years I went through several full mental breakdowns starting Fall 2017 and I have been struggling to stay focused enough to read. Though I have recovered and am happy, mental health as well as work and grad school has had me too exhausted to read by the time I get home. It definitely makes me feel like I’m falling behind all the time.

    Most of how I’ve kept up with my reading goal last year and this year has been because of graphic novels, poetry books, and short stories which have been enjoyable and helped to keep me afloat. Even when I was at the height of my reading (60-70 books a year) I realized that I’m a relatively slow reader. My husband almost never reads, but when he does he finishes 300-400 page books in 1-3 days and it just blows my mind.

    I’ve accepted that I’ll never read as fast as I want to with my massive TBR, but as long as I’m reading books that I love I’m satisfied. I’m glad that you’re coming to grips with being a slow reader! I think this message is so important for fellow readers and bloggers in particular not to cave to the pressure of keeping up with the hype train.

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  12. Agreed, reading speed or the numbers really don’t matter 🙂 I sometimes worry that I read too fast, actually. Cause maybe I am not taking enough time to savor the words, like you say. I used to when I was younger – but after becoming a book blogger, I just sort of went with the flow, I guess? I’m setting my reading goal low now on purpose, and still reach it by like 200% now. I guess I just got into the habit. But I can relate about being a mood reader! My solution to that though, is that I literally read 18, not kidding, 18 books at the same time. Well, I mean I switch between then xD that way, if a book is slow, triggering or just not for my current mood, I put it away and read something else. And then, I also listen to a lot of my ARCs through the Pocketbook app (you just download the book from NetGalley and play it through the app. Free app too. You do your chores and read your ARCs. It’s brilliant.)

    I haven’t been reading a lot of new releases now either, though, but that’s just cause I’m sick of ARCs! But I know what you mean when they’re all talking about something you haven’t read 😀 happens to me all the time.

    I don’t know, I think maybe it’s better for you to actually read slower. You think the things through more, and the book just stays with you more. Sometimes I feel like I let go of the books I truly loved too soon to read another one, particularly because I’m a fast reader.

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