Loony’s Musings: how long does it take you to read a book?

I did this online quiz thingy the other day. It tells you how many words you read per minute, based on this little excerpt thing. You can find the test here (and tell me what you got!).

My result was ­­675 words per minute. Which is apparently on par with college professors, but I’m not buying that. Although I WOULD look cool as a college professor.

(yes, this is what I think of when the word “professor” comes up)

This is the speed I generally read at. At this pace it says I can finish Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in about two hours. About 17 hours for the Bible (yeah, let’s not do that).

This raised a question in my mind. Namely, how long does it take me to read a book? I know that I’ve read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in a day once. All the times I’ve read The Fault in Our Stars have been in 2-3 hours (but that’s pretty short). But those are both books I really enjoy. Sometimes, if I really hate a book, it can get to be like this:

And that’s when my TBR seems to overwhelm me the most. If something’s just too dense and you’re not getting through it, it can seem like you’re running out of time. For what? Fair enough, for reviewing books sent to you by publishers. But as bloggers we’re used to reading things quickly – when I don’t, it comes as a shock. For instance, it took me two weeks to read Fellowship of the Ring (in between a couple of other books).

Western society in general places importance on instant gratification, and if I don’t like a book straight away, I often see that as a flaw in the book. The majority of people today don’t have the patience for lengthy descriptions like that of Tolkien. I was reading it like:


Basically…anger, and then not caring anymore.

Also, I’m a skim reader. I often miss things, and if a book didn’t stand out to me, I probably won’t even remember the main character’s name. As bloggers we have to be constantly reviewing new books and keeping up with popular series’ and sometimes it can seem like I’m finishing a book only to immediately start another.

I want to make sure this happens less. I want to savour books more, and take some more time to really enjoy books. I haven’t hit a reading slump yet, but if I’m not enjoying the reading process, I know it will happen way too soon. At the moment I read about 2 books a week, what with everything else that I’m doing. Any more than that and I’ll probably be overwhelmed.

And I never want to stop loving reading and blogging.

How long does it take you to read a book? Do you have the same problems as me?

28 thoughts on “Loony’s Musings: how long does it take you to read a book?

  1. Once I start reading a book, I just … well, it can be anything from an hour to three months, depending on how interested I am, how many other things are demanding my attention, and my health at the time. The ones I read in an hour I tend to need to reread though. Imma take that testy thing to see how fast I am.

    “You read 1,096 words per minute. That makes you 338% faster than the national average.” Apparently. Sounds about right — I’m tired, though. I think the fastest I ever had to read was 450 pages in an hour and a quarter, because I can read a page quickly, but keeping it up for 75 mins is exhausting, and it was way too long a book to read that fast. But the library was going to close and I needed to return it, so…

    • Exactly, it’s always different with me as well. Wow, talk about being a speed reader! That’s incredible. If I really pushed myself I could probably read at that pace but there’s no way I would understand ANYTHING that’s going on. I totally understand about deadlines though…I’ve done that a few times myself!!

  2. I am the most horrific skim reader in the world. “You read 757 words per minute. That makes you 203% faster than the national average.” Woo, go me. What did I just read? My entire school life consisted of me reading things and answering questions and never remember a thing of what I read. I think my brain has a hole. BUT ANYWAY. I usually read 1 book in 1 day. My kindle says I can read a book in 2 hours. Did you know Kindle apps have this timer thingy? I didn’t know that! Now I race my kindle…which is…bad. But still. I usually break my reading into 2 sittings, though, just because…SQUIRREL. And food and stuff. Life is distracting.

    • Go you! I have the same problem. I read it then realise three pages later I haven’t actually understood anything. With school and everything, I just don’t have time to read the amount of books you do…except if something is really good. Breaking it into two sittings is a good idea – I do that with writing!

  3. You read 716 words per minute.
    That makes you 186% faster than the national average.

    ^^^ Alright. Think that may have been off though. Lol it’s because I got to read a snippet from Alice in Wonderland that I’ve read before [:

    In general I’ve always been a pretty fast reader. I do tend to skim a lot though, few books really require me to focus one hundred percent. I consider that a good thing as focusing totally isn’t my forte. Lol when it came to the questions I got 2/3 right lol. I feel like I usually comprehend a lot of what I read, until I actually have to answer questions. Then I realize how much I already forgot.

    Great post! 🙂

    • Alice In Wonderland ❤

      I got 2/3 right as well. That test is a bit off, considering those details aren't really ones you need to remember most of the time. I just take things in as a whole rather than specifics – if I didn't skim read it would take me a million years to read a book. If I'm reading something for English, I find it much easier to read it twice than read it once properly 😛

  4. “You read 556 words per minute.
    That makes you 122% faster than the national average.”

    Didn’t get all the questions right, though. I’d have to read it more than once for everything to sink in properly.

    For me it just depends on the type of book. The length, whether I’m into it, and also how much time I have on my hands. It’ll usually take me 1-2 days to read a book (sometimes even just a day). But when I read UNDER THE DOME, it took me five or so days to read (has over 800 pages). It wasn’t that it was a bad book, but it was slightly frustrating to take so long to read something when I usually read books much quicker. O.o

    Anyways, great post. (:

    • Neither did I – 2/3. And yeah, definitely depends on the book. In the holidays, I easily read a book a day, which is why I love the holidays so much! I agree with the frustration, too – especially when my TBR pile is so big! I think I might start doing DNF reviews because I really don’t have time to read the whole book if I hate it.

  5. It really depends for me. At the moment I have every afternoon/evening to read, so I can read a short-ish book (300 pages) in a day. If it’s longer, or I’m not enjoying it as much then it’ll take me a couple of days. When I have less time, a book can take me a week to read.

  6. Normally, I read really quickly. Years of practice is the reason for that – plus, the fact that I used to be a college professor (well – an occasional lecturer, at least. ‘Professor’ sounds cooler, though) and I wrote a doctoral thesis which required a lot of reading, super-fast, and with a reasonable amount of retention.

    There are books which just don’t grab me, though, and it’s not so much that I’ll read them slowly; it’s more like I’ll pick them up and read a few hundred pages at my usual pace, and then leave them aside for two or three months. Then, I’ll eventually come back and finish them all in a big gulp. I hate leaving a book unfinished if I’ve started it. Usually, I remember the story and don’t need to re-read the bits I’ve read already, which is a bonus. I love being able to read quickly – life is short, and there are many books. 🙂

    • I think you mention a good point there: it’s not that I necessarily read slower in books I don’t like, but I will definitely not pick it up as often. How cool that you were a professor, though!

      I hate leaving books unfinished too. That’s why I don’t write DNF reviews at the moment (it may change). It just weird me out for some reason 😛

  7. It takes me… a while. Like 2-3 days usually, if there’s school. It’s hard to read around the homework. If it’s summer, I usually read four books a week. If the book is boring I can take two weeks to read it or give it up completely, lol! I want to be one of those speedy readers who finish books in one sitting. :/

    Aimee @ Deadly Darlings (new blog name!)

  8. It will usually take me a few hours in total to read a book, for a standard 300+ page book, it’ll usually be around 3 hours, so I can usually base how long it’ll take to read a book based on page count: 600+ pages, 6+ hours and that kind of way, because I can usually read 70-100 pages per hour, and I know that’s pretty slow in comparison to some people and other bloggers, but it’s a good pace for me. I don’t usually try to worry about how much reading I’m doing in a week; I’ve been burning myself out lately, so I’m now taking time to chill and reading between 2 to 3 books a week, which is great considering I’m into the thick Skulduggery books now, 600+ pages, wowzer! Great topic hun!

    • That makes a lot of sense – it’s great how it works out that way for you! 2 to 3 books in a week seems like a fantastic pace to me…anything more than that and it just starts getting too fast, I think. Well, except during school holidays, which is when I read a LOT. Thanks, Amanda! 🙂

  9. Pingback: What Happened This Week: Stacking the Shelves (3) and Rainbow Books | The Loony Teen Writer

  10. Lovely review Emily! I have always been a fast reader, I remember in primary school my sister and I had a competition for who read the fastest and I won by a mile. Anyway, I’m kind of glad that I read quickly because of the neverending review pile and huge pile of ARCs!

  11. I am simply a slow reader. I have accepted my status, and am okay with it. What I finish in 2 weeks, a fast reader will finish in 2 days. 2 days equal 2 hours. 2 hours, pfft….are you still reading? Why yes, yes I am.

    My attention is shot, and I will blame it on the internet. I am Veruca Salt; I want it NOW! Contemporary fiction seem to be the fastest books for me to finish. I power right through them in a day on the weekend.

    Reading should be relaxing, and as long as I’m taking my time at my own pace, I don’t hate! Great topic, glad to know I’m not alone in the world of reading.

    • Reading snobbery is the worst though. For me, if people are reading at all I’m happy! The internet definitely has much to answer for regarding my reading speed. I’m so bad at not focusing! Reading should definitely be relaxing, and it’s nice not to speed-read every now and again, and just take it slowly 🙂

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