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Monday, January 10, 2011
How quickly do you read?
I ask about reading speed because feeling I'm slightly ashamed of how long the gaps are getting between new postings on here and I’m wondering if I’m a slow reader.
Certainly my sister, my nieces and several of my best friends seem to read at warp factor speeds compared to me. They polish off several books in a week, while I’m plodding along behind.
I mean, I don’t move my lips, or drag my finger along the line, but I’m thinking I must read more slowly than I used to.
That’s scary because it means I will be able to fit less books in before I cark it. Really scary.
Or is it a time thing? From my waking moment I am doing one of three things:
1. Being with and looking after my daughter.
2. On my laptop, working or tooling around (which always feeds into work, or that’s how justify it…)
3. Mundane chores of life.
As Coco Chanel so famously said: There is no other time.
(She divided her time between ‘work and love’, rather more glamorously. And being French, when she said ‘love’ she meant vigorous rumpy pumpy.)
Also slowing things up, I’m reading two books in tandem at the moment. I have a day book and a night book, because the day book is so fascinating, I can’t read it at night. The ideas make my brain start break dancing and I just lie there for hours with my eye wide shut.
So at night I’m reading a very long and ‘important’ novel in very short unsatisfactory bursts, which isn’t right at all.
But hopefully when I get back into my proper work schedule, according to the Stephen King method (see my post of January 16, 2010), I will be writing my 2,500 words in the morning and reading in the afternoon. So things should speed up on here.
On the other hand, is reading Formula One fast always the best way? One of my exes reads incredibly slowly. It would take him months to read a novel, but once he’d finished, he never forgot a single thing about it.
One holiday I finished what I was reading almost immediately after we’d got to the beach, and hadn’t put a new one in my bag = total disaster for me.
To stop me freaking out, he told me the entire story of the novel Perfume. Remembering every name and every detail. It was like listening to a talking book.
As I sometimes can’t remember the names of the characters in my own novels, this was pretty amazing to me.
So I think it doesn’t matter how quickly you read, as long as you do.
It's been a diverse career. Not many people have written for Allure and (the late-lamented...) Gourmet mag.
I've been a magazine editor, an op ed columnist on a broadsheet newspaper, and for years covered the fashion shows in Paris, Milan etc.
But while I shifted between the worlds of food, fashion and current affairs, there was one overriding passion: books.
Now I write them - five novels published, with another due out this year, and several books of journalism.
Here I write about them.