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!