I remember reading a tweet back in March 2012. I forget who it was, but she was all, "I've read 87 books so far this year." WHAT? Surely she meant a rolling calendar year, right? I was wrong. This blogger had legitimately read 87 books in three months. It is now September, and I still haven't read 87 books for the year. Some bloggers' goals are 100 books for the year. Some have 30 or 40 as their target number of books read. Then there are some seriously lofty goals like 250 or 300. The latter number? That would be a book a day. Meaning you'd only not read a book SIXTY-FIVE DAYS out of the year. You're my hero, basically. I read 107 books in 2011. Right now, I'm at 76 books for 2012. But I look at some of my friends (ahem, Anna. April. Maybe it's something with the As, who knows?!) and I am flabbergasted at the amount of books these ladies have read!
Sure, different things come into play. Work, sleep, eating. But other than the essentials, there's spending time with family, friends, spouses. And, of course, those mundane tasks no one likes doing: cleaning, laundry, mowing the lawn. And for those of you who are parents out there, taking care of your kiddos. But despite many of these things, some people still get a whole heck of a lot of reading done each year.
I read primarily YA. YA books, staking a guess based on my bookshelves, tend to be around the 350 page average. The Hunger Games, for example, is 99,750 words (source) on 374 pages. If my iPhone calculator is correct, that's roughly 267 words per page. According to this online test, I read 430 words per minute and answered 2 out or 3 questions correctly on comprehension. So that means I read slightly slower than the average college student. But I do think the fact that I was consciously aware that my reading speed was being tested had an effect on my words per minute, so I'd stake that I read even slower than that.
Here's the part where I'll probably make a fool of myself, because I suck at math. If The Hunger Games had 99,750 words on 374 pages, and I read (for optimism's sake) 430 words per minute, and there are 60 minutes in an hour, I should be reading 96 pages an hour, meaning I could read The Hunger Games in 3.89 hours.
THIS. DID. NOT. HAPPEN.
Of course, various aspects of life got in the way amidst my reading experience. But did I have 3.89 hours where I could have uninterruptedly read the entirety of The Hunger Games? YOU BETCHA. That being said, I don't think I would've had the vivid mental and emotional experience that I had if I read at that speed. You see, I don't just see the words. I like to speak them in my head. I read with emotion, emphasis, when I see a passage where our heroine's heart is being ripped to shreds, my mental narrator puts EVERY OUNCE of emotion that we can squeeze out of ourselves into that experience. Not to mention I will read and reread lines or paragraphs in order to solidify the image in my head. Or hey, even if the particular scene was super hot or sad or whatever. This drastically reduces the number of words I read. If I were to speed-read, or just scan the words, I would have no freaking idea what I just read. Guaranteed.
As an average reader, that is my experience. I'd love to hear from others. How many words per minute do you read? Speed-readers, what's your reading experience like? First off, I bow to you. Secondly, how do you do it? Do you self-narrate with emphasis like a freaking Oscar-winning actor? Do you hear Morgan Freeman's voice in your head? Or are you more focused on just seeing those words and somehow you're still fortunate enough to comprehend the majority of what you're taking in? And you average and leisurely, steady readers: how do you devour your favorite book? Do you tend to reread your favorite parts or backtrack?
I'm ever so interested to hear. DISCUSS!
PS. Please feel free to correct my math in the comments section ;)