Ostomy Memories of Reading Speed


BEING A SPEED READER IS SOMETHING I never had an interest in doing.  Even though I am constantly reading, as far as reading speed is concerned, I’m a plodder.  You might say that I read books like I eat mashed potatoes:  slowly, savoring every spoonful.  Speed reading, from what I can tell, has certain pros and cons and, perhaps, relates to the very purpose for reading.  Are you reading so that you can say that you read the book, or to learn something, or for enjoyment?  Speed reading will save you time, but you will sacrifice accuracy and comprehension.  For some people, reading may be difficult, but speed reading is exhausting.  I always have a pen at hand while I’m reading and, when I encounter a passage that I find particularly intriguing or important, I mark it.  Then, on the last, blank page of the book, I note any pages where I’ve marked passages.  I often return to a book months or years later just to read over those noted places.   In short, a good book ought to be savored, and you can’t do that at a quick pace.  So I find Woody Allen’s take on it compelling:  “I took a speed reading course and read ‘War and Peace’ in twenty minutes.  It involves Russia.”


If you don't comprehend and absorb what you read, what's the point in reading it to begin with?

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Hello HenryM.

Thank you for a very relevant topic to my own experience of reading.
Firstly, I will admit to not reading a book at all until I was about 29 years old, and that was so that I could try to understand why my wife was so engrossed in the activity. At that time her favourite author was Catherine Cookson, and I found the book hard going.
When I went to college for the first time they gave me a lengthy booklist, which I was expected to wade through for the sake of academic protocol. On discussion with a fellow student, it was suggested that I had several options (1) give up, (2) spend all my available time reading, (3) learn to speed-read, (4) be selective in what I read and what I discard.
I chose (4) as my preferred option and (3) as my second line of defence.
My time at college wasn’t entirely wasted, but when it came to answering questions, there w2as no way I could rely on ‘memory’ from reading to get me through, so the fallback position was to simply ‘think’ things through for myself and those thoughts were the answers that they got.  Interestingly, the marks I received were reflective of each of the individual marker’s socio-political views.  Sometimes my work failed and sometimes I received top-marks. (For the same essays!)
When I began writing rhyme, there seemed little point, and not enough time in the day in reading what other people had to write. However, it was then that I decided to give reading another go.  After discussions with my wife, she agreed to select books for me to read that she thought I might ‘like’.  This worked very well and I enjoyed reading them. My wife could not believe how fast I read each book and was convinced that I was missing most of the storylines. However, speed-reading does not mean that the reader will miss stuff, it is more a question of understanding the story, rather than being pedantic about the words used. 
I still have to admit to liking to write individual rhymes, rather than novels because these tend to require the reader to take their time and savour the words and the messages., and so, are difficult to speed-read.

Best wishes

ron in mich

Hi guys, now that winter is here, not officially, but the snow on the ground tells me it is. I have a stack of books on the side of my chair that I got from rummage sales this past summer, so now if I'm not shoveling snow or walking the dog, I'm in my lazy boy reading.


When I was a kid back in the 70's, the Evelyn Wood Reading Dynamics commercials were all over radio and television, so much so that they are burned into my brain.
Whenever I see reading speed, my brain screams out to me "EVELYN WOOD SPEED READING."

Thanks for the memories of my youth when I wasn't yet sick.

Now I'm a big fan of Tim Dorsey and his series of books about a Florida historian/serial killer, Serge A. Storms, and his drug-addled sidekick Coleman. The dark humor has me belly laughing, and I look forward to each January when the newest installment is released. I'm positive I wouldn't enjoy the series near as much if I were to rush through them.

Words of Encouragement from Ostomy Advocates I Hollister

I agree, Henry. I have no interest in learning to speed read. I look at a good book like a warm bowl of soup, something comforting that I can savor. When I settle in with a book written by a favorite author, I already know I'm going to enjoy it, and I don't have any desire to rush through it. It is also a piece of art, and I want to take the time to notice the words written, the unique turn of phrase, the evocative language the author uses to create the atmosphere, the colorful words used to describe the characters (who I always picture in my mind). Forcing yourself to read fast would be like rushing through a fine art gallery or giving yourself indigestion by gulping down your soup.



Speed reading is great! When I was in my 20s, I was a speed reader and talker. I was a commercial radio operator in northern Canada. For a few years, I was a night operator, which is to say I worked 12 hours, 7 days a week. Of that 12 hours, I actually had about 30 minutes of work to do. So I read books, all kinds of books, including USA Airforce radar training manuals. I love history and (Westerns for entertainment and I read them like comic books.) In about three years, I developed the ability to read 300 to 400 pages per hour. In Fort Smith, a town 8 miles from our camp, there was a library with a few thousand Western books. After a long discussion and proof, she let me take out about 40 books per week. She could not believe I could do that, so she randomly quizzed me. Finally, she said and I quote, "My God! You are reading them! 60 years later I'm still a fairly fast reader (the eyes are not like they used to be). I can, and do, read a western (250 - 300 pages) in an evening. I read most everything I get my hands on. I read digitally now, and every day I get a selection of books from Book Bub. I also get digital books from our local library. Over the last few years, I have bought and read hundreds of books now that I'm retired. Love it.


I have always read a lot. I find I'm actually sad when some books end. When I was a senior in high school, I took a speed reading class as a fill-in. Well, it certainly does work. It teaches you how to skim over some parts. There are times I need to mentally slow myself down when reading particular passages. So, to be honest, I wish I hadn't taken it because it is difficult to stop. Along the same vein, I enjoy holding books. I did have to get a Kindle during the pandemic since I couldn't go to the library. But I have always enjoyed real books, the smell, the feel, everything.

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