Something that I am really just appallingly bad at is reading. I’m not even entirely sure why that is. I used to be a really prolific and fast reader, and with time it’s like I got worse. I’m not sure if I fell out of practice or if I stopped being able to focus on it or if maybe I’ve just gotten blinder and it’s gotten harder, but whatever the case, I’ve gone from being someone who would knock out like 100 books a year to someone who can count the number of books she read in 2014 on one hand.
I know that the focus thing is definitely part of it. In an effort to commit everything I read completely to my memory I take way too long, which I suppose is fair to an extent but I know that part of it is outside distractions, like the cat walking by, or some weird sound that keeps making me look up, or that I keep re-reading the same word over and over again. Sherlock Holmes is obviously not hampered by the inability to read quickly because he seems to know an awful lot about an awful lot, so I decided I was going to look into speed reading.
I am not sure what I expected. It certainly wasn’t that I was going to be knocking out a thousand words per minute and actually understanding them. I thought that maybe if I focused on speed reading, though, I could do two things:
- Get my regular reading speed up to a respectable level again, and
- Re-read books I’ve already read–you know, like A Study in Scarlet, which I didn’t love the first time and wanted to punch myself in the face the second time and I can’t even imagine how aggressively angry the third time is gonna make me the third time–much, much faster.
So I downloaded some speed reading app that you plug into your computer browser and just highlight stuff and it helps you focus. I started off reading The Gloria Scott at 400 wpm, which according to my research is about as fast as a person can read and really comprehend everything that they’re reading, and ended up going, “20 minutes to read this story I’ve already read 70 times? NO THANKS,” and I sped it up so that I was reading 800 wpm.
I was definitely missing a lot of words, but it turned out I actually didn’t care, because I’ve read them before. Anyway I’m pretty happy about it. I knocked out almost 9000 words in like 12 or 13 minutes, which is faster than I would be able to really properly comprehend if it wasn’t really a refresher course. Regardless, the fact that I can use this thing to read things at a non-snail speed is pretty rad and I am excited about using it to read A Study in Scarlet at a rate of 10,000 wpm. Is that possible? OK, not really. According to this thing if I read it at the same rate as The Gloria Scott, I’m in it for about 60 minutes, which I suppose I can deal with. Maybe I’ll test the limit at the part that takes place in Utah, which according to my recollection. In fact, let me try a quick sneak preview. You know I can actually max it out at 9,600 wpm! I can re-read this entire novel in like 5 minutes! Yeah, that’s gonna be pretty great. STAY TUNED FOR THAT.