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Dark Puss

I'm currently having "trouble" with Troubles, but more on that on Saturday. If I am on a long journey I might read for a couple of hours, but I'm more likely to work and sight-see than read a book the whole time. Indeed for me reading does depend, as it does for you, very much on other calls on my leisure time, primarily my flute. Regular reading, i.e. every day, is certainly for me the optimum. Clearly if I am enjoying the book I am more likely to read it for longer periods and every day.

Crafty Green Poet

Interesting question! If I want to get the most out of a book I read it twice. At the moment I generally read books one at a time, spending at least half an hour at a time on the book before moving on to something else. However I'm reading 6 Degrees, Mark Lynas' terrifying book about future climate change and this is definitely restricted to one chapter a day to prevent total depression.

Susan in TX

It definitely depends on the schedule of the week and the book itself. Things like Harry Potter that are impossible to put down seem to trump the schedule no matter what is going on. I tend to have several books going at once, but I like to read them in bigger chunks at a time to better retain the feel of each. I'm behind with Troubles myself, but hope to get it read between now and Saturday.


For me too it always depends on everything else happening around! I would love to loll around and read it in one go but it does not happen like that!


If I really am caught up with the story, I try to read whenever I can, ignoring as much of life as I am able to. I love train travel for reading. However I took Troubles on holiday last week (but was travelling by bus)and was too caught up with all the activities... I could not get into the book at all.

Such an interesting question. Mostly now my reading is not of the gorging type that I managed when I was younger. Life seems to demand too often that the book gets put down. Having said that train journeys are a great time to rediscover that immersive experience. I have come to value books that allow me to put them down and pick them up again, those stories that have built in breathing space. Anthony Trollope understood this, and Ian Rankin I have found too, allows you to put the book down and then return. I think if the characters are strong enough and the writing good enough you can read in small bursts with spaces between. There will be a quality that beckons you back rather than shrieks insistently to get on with reading it. In fact, I'm writing a serial at the moment to explore how this works, and if I can get people hooked on it, but in the politest possible way.

Julie Fredericksen

Especially this year, I have been reading books in huge gulps. I have a lot of unwanted leisure time (am involuntarily retired). When I had a job staring at a computer screen all day long, I could only manage about 50 pages a night.

I am reading Jane Eyre for Simon (Savidge Reads) Classics book group on Sunday. I read 320 pages out of 500 yesterday.

I am surprised to hear that several people are having trouble with Troubles. I gobbled it up in a couple of days.


I tend to read in fits and starts as that is just how my work schedule allows. I do love when I can read for a nice chunk of time that is uninterrupted but that isn't often the case unfortunately. I think some books work fine with this set up but others really seem to demand a lot of attention--maybe this is why I seem to be reading lots of short mysteries lately.

Ruth M.

Susan, You've said everything I wanted to say, from Harry Potter to multiple books on the go at once. I do notice that when I read something in big gulps I often go back for a slower, more reflective second read, which often creates deeper roots than the first.

Kate {The Parchment Girl}

Great question! I think it depends on whether it's fiction or nonfiction. Fiction is best read (in my opinion) in one go, so I can totally immerse myself in the story. Nonfiction, particularly books filled with practical facts and how-to information, are best nibbled on, then discussed at length so as to commit as much of the knowledge to the long-term memory as possible.


I agree with Kate about both fiction and non-fiction. I think for fiction it does help to read in one go, so that you keep the thread of the plot in mind. With non-fiction especially if it is filled with complex factual information it can help to take a break, and then come back later. For example I have read a number of history books which I have found best taken a bit at a time.


That was a great question and I agree with everyone that how I read depends on the events in my life and my mood at the time.

Then I realised that this is exacly the same for the things I do that are seen as creative (ok I admit a passion for a music keyboard as well as one for the PC).

So my point is - maybe reading is not such a passive activity as I have believed but actually requires creative work (in building the mental world etc). And it can apply to non-fiction too with its abstract concepts.

So the authors aren't so different from the rest of us!

Dark Puss

Hello Julie, you'll see the reasons for my comment on Saturday. DP

Susie Vereker

As others say, depends the book & on time available. I like, ideally, to read a novel in about four evenings, devoting about an hour each night, but sometimes if the plot is exciting I read too fast e.g. skipping the descriptive passages, which may be perfectly good description but I'm in too much of a rush to bother with them. I rarely take longer than a week to read a book, and used to be annoyed if a novel wouldn't last me the 3 hr Eurostar trip to Paris. But then I usually read for enjoyment and relaxation rather than erudition these days.


Life with two small children doesn't permit me the luxury of immersing myself in a book. If I don't take up the odd minutes that I an carve out for myself to pick up a book then I wouldn't manage to finish anything. This does of course mean that the rare opportunities to read for longer such as appointments running late, are savoured in a way they never were before.


It can depend on the book but more often, the time available. Last Sunday I had a couple of hours on a train going to & from the city & read almost all of O Douglas's The Perfect Place. In the evenings, I try to read most nights for at least an hour but I often find I'm falling asleep by 9.30. Today, being Sunday, I could have spent the afternoon with a book but I've been baking, blogging & reading other people's blogs. So, it's a struggle sometimes to get enough reading time.

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