How Fast Do You Read?

how fast do you read

As a bookblogger, I cannot help but compare myself to others from time to time – as I’m sure we have all done at least a few times in our blogging careers (and in life). One of the things I’m always most baffled by with other bloggers is their reading speeds. How some people manage to read over 100 books a year is beyond me (and I know a lot of you do!). I barely managed to read 50 books in 2015, and I spent quite a lot of my time reading in that year.

So, I wonder, what’s the big difference?

One obvious difference might be that English is not my native language – but I don’t really think that’s it. I don’t read that much faster in Dutch, and I am much more practiced in reading in English than I am in Dutch, too. I simply don’t read that fast.

If I do speed up my reading, I have the feeling I’m missing all kinds of things and will forget just what I’ve read as soon as I’ve turned the page. Also, “speedreading”? No idea how to do that. I figured it was just a myth for a long time. So if anyone’s got any tips on that – let me know. Does it involve skipping certain bits of a book? Or is it like skimming (which I’m not particularly good at either)? Let me in on your secrets!

The reason I decided to write a post about all this is because Julissa from Personal Creations approached me a while ago about a graphic she’d helped create about how long it will take to read certain books. I took a look at it, and was a bit surprised. For example. I’m pretty sure it took me a good while longer than 2,5 hours to read The Great Gatsby. And that’s the average person’s reading speed!

Now, to be fair, I hardly ever read a book in one sitting, so I have no real way of knowing how long it takes me to read any book. I just reread The Fault in Our Stars in three days, but those weren’t three full days of reading, obviously. Plus, I often had to reread a sentence because I thought it was so beautiful and wanted to really take it in. That happens to me a lot while reading – I want to make sure I really read it properly.

Anyway, I thought this was a really fun graphic to study for a little while. And it’s a long list as well. Seriously, good luck scrolling your way through that.

I’m very curious to hear your thoughts on all this! How much time do you spend reading? How many books do you read in that time? To make it a little more concrete, how many books do you read in a month, on average? 


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Hi! I'm Anne and I love reading, baking and writing about both of those things. Welcome!

20 thoughts on “How Fast Do You Read?

  1. I agree that the above reading rates seem pretty fast. I read quite a bit, between 100-150 pages per day, on average, is comfortable for me. (Except for week like this one when I’m on vacation and haven’t finished a single book.) I’m not even sure how many words per minute or pages per hour that amounts to as I sometimes read for 1/2 here, an hour there, et cetera. I’ve also sworn off speed reading and comparing myself to others. (Though the latter is admittedly hard to do when I see how many books some of my friends on Goodreads can get through before I finish one…) Since I started blogging and reading a lot of ARCs, I’ve been much more aware of my speed (or lack thereof). There have been many times I’ve had to remind myself that I started doing this because I love to read. If I try to read to fast, I just become frustrated, forget what I read, and lose the joy.

    1. Yes, exactly! I also try to keep in mind that it’s a hobby and it’s supposed to be something I do to relax. I find 100-150 pages per day quite a bit, though! I manage to read that much on some days, but only like once a week, tops. Mostly I am like you, reading for half an hour here, an hour there, or even 15 minutes in between other things. Thanks for your comment! I love reading everyone’s take on this. 🙂

  2. I feel the same as you, other bookbloggers seem to read so much faster than me! and English is my first language! I know people speak of skim / fast reading, but if I do that I feel like I miss parts. If I’m reading a book, I want to enjoy it and take it all in. I don’t want to skim read, it defeats the purpose in my opinion. Last year I read 36 books, there is no way I could read 100 unless I read all day most days! I’m happy with my reading speed, I would like to have more time, but with a full time job its not possible. I think as long as you enjoy your books it doesn’t matter.
    Interesting post.

    1. Same! I don’t want to skim something I’m reading for fun – I want to be able to really take it all in, and sometimes just read a beautiful sentence a second time! I think 36 books with a full time job is quite amazing! 🙂 And I agree – as long as you’re enjoying yourself it’s all good. Thanks for your lovely comment!

  3. I’m a fast reader in terms of getting through a word count, however, I think the content and subject matter is the wild card for me. Yes, I could read Their eyes were watching God really quickly, but the subject matter doesn’t lend itself to speed reading. Just counting word counts and average speed doesnt account for that, or for books where characters have accents, or when the subject matter is unfamiliar and presents a learning curve. Or even when the format of the book is unfamiliar. Too many extra factors!

    1. Exactly, I think that’s the fatal flaw of this graphic. Word count isn’t everything! I mean, I hardly believe one of the Twilight books (which are 8 hours on average (because 32 in total for the series) according to the graphic) takes you as long as the Canterbury Tales! Not by a long shot! Thanks for your insightful comment! 🙂

  4. I’m a speed-reader and I guess that comes with its downfalls as well. I read about 120 books a year, give or take, and often it means I forget a lot about books. For me, it takes about an hour to read a hundred pages (which isn’t a particularly good gauge considering different fonts/font sizes/page sizes etc.) but that seems to be a good guideline. From having to skim hundreds of pages of notes for exams, you get to be quite good at skipping little bits here and there 🙂 Love the graphic, by the way!

    1. Wow, a hundred pages an hour! I’m really impressed by that. 🙂 I would be really annoyed if I’d read a book and forgot about it quite soon after, though, so I guess in that sense it’s good I’m not that fast a reader. Plus, I don’t want to skip bits when I’m reading for fun – I’ll leave the speed reading for my academic stuff, haha! 🙂 Thank you, and thanks for your interesting comment! 😀

  5. Yeah, this seems pretty fast to me as well and I don’t think I’m a particularly slow reader. As pointed out above, it probably also has to do with enjoyment and content. Especially reading a Shakespeare play in under two hours seems a bit fast. Sure, your eyes can move over the words in that time, but I think it’s much more enjoyable/ understandable if you take some time to read notes or think about the meaning of a particular phrase. I’m even willing the argue that if you’d read it that quickly you wouldn’t even get half of the experience, just because the text is so rich.

    I think I would urge you not to worry too much about it. The main goal when reading is ultimately to enjoy it, and you can’t really pace that. Also, I think your reviews might be of better quality when you take the time to really get into a book rather than just skimming over it. But I guess that’s personal.

    1. Yes, sometimes you just need to take it slow to take it all in, and really get a grasp on the content. And I think I agree with you on the Shakespeare thing! I’m not really worrying about it, though, just think it’s an interesting thing to talk about. 🙂 We all read in such different ways! I do agree with you on the reviews. I write my reviews quite a few weeks after I’ve actually read the book, which sometimes makes it hard to write a coherent one even without the speed reading! I should really take more notes while reading, haha! Thanks for you comment, Emmie 😀

  6. I read pretty fast in general, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I read a lot more books. The past couple years I’ve read about 70 books a year, which is a lot for me! So I average about 6 books a month. If a book really grabs me, I can read it in a day or two. But I might not pick up another book for a few days because I’m such a mood reader and on such a book high! Other times, I’ll read the next thing immediately and end up reading 5 books in 10 days or something crazy. I worry about always being behind, or taking time out of my TBR to reread a favorite, but I’m trying to relax more about it this year and not feel the need to rush. I can’t help that I read fast, but I don’t feel like I rush through books if that makes sense. And if I loved it, details and lines still stick with me. I’m in awe of people who read 100+ books a year, I don’t think I ever could! And as long as we’re all reading books we enjoy, that’s what really counts I think 🙂

    1. I agree! Enjoyment is the key here. 🙂 I read a lot faster (as in – spend more time reading per day) when I’m reading a book I like as well. When I picked up Anna and the French Kiss (and later Lola and the Boy Next Door) I’d finished the book within a day and a half, because I just had to keep reading! It definitely differs per book. 70 is a lot to me too! I’m trying to read 50 books again this year. 🙂 Thanks for your comment, Morgan, I really appreciate it!

  7. Ha, I love this graphic! It makes it look like it would take no time at all to read even the longest books (like less than 2 full days for the longest – discounting series). I might have to pick up some of the classics I’ve been avoiding now. 🙂

    I generally read quite fast, especially if I’m interested in a book, but I don’t think reading speed really matters. I think that with speed reading and other similar techniques, you might tackle non-fiction and study material, but I like to take my time and enjoy the books I read for pleasure at my own pace. I believe in quality over quantity, so I never set a Goodreads challenge, either. I might read 3 books in a week, or a book might take me 3 weeks to read – it depends on the everyday life.

    Great discussion, Anne! 🙂

    1. I think that’s the key here, though, haha – the “makes it look”. Word count definitely isn’t everything! Classics usually take me a lot longer than contemporaries. I’ll always encourage reading them, though! 😀 I agree with you – I don’t really think the speed matters either. It’s interesting to see how everyone reads in such a different way, though. I use speed reading for my studies sometimes too (although, even then I find it difficult!), but I also like to take my time with the books I read for fun. Quality over quantity is a very good motto! Thanks for your lovely comment, Kaja! 🙂

  8. I read for about two hours every day – one hour on the train in the morning, and one hour on the train in the afternoon. I usually get through 30-50 pages in one hour, but it really depends on the size of the font and the writing itself. I can usually get through a book a week. But with something like ‘War and Peace’ that has small font (in my edition) and pretty dense writing, I can only get through about 20 pages in an hour.
    There are so many variables, so I don’t think we should compare ourselves to other readers. I think you getting through 50 books in one year is excellent – some people might get through 100, but how long are those books? I got through 100 last year – the longest was 849 pages, but it had largish font and was fairly easy to read as it was a middle-grade fantasy; I got through it in a week.

    1. Train rides are great for reading! 🙂 A book a week is what I aim for as well, but I usually take a bit longer and then do some marathon reading during vacations or at the end of the year. War and Peace would definitely take me quite a bit longer as well. Haven’t attempted it yet – it’s quite intimidating to me!’
      I agree with you that comparing ourselves doesn’t make a lot of sense. Everyone reads in different ways! Thank you for your insightful comment, Heather!

  9. I also wonder how people manage to read so fast. Last year, I was able to finish 28 books, and that was good for me. I felt like I read a lot. But I have some friends who can read over 100 books a year. It’s crazy!

    1. I think 28 is a lot! Everyone’s reading habits are different 🙂 I’m in awe with people who read over 100 books a year too, haha. I’m just going to focus on having fun reading and trying to reach my own goal! Thanks for your comment 🙂

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