Today I wanted to talk a little bit about how I read, or at least one aspect of how I read. You see, I am a one-sitting reader. What do I mean by that? I prefer to read my books all in one sitting. Forty pages a day, a chapter a day–those hardly ever work for me, even when I try(like if I’m trying to read along with a group or something). I like to crawl in between the pages of my books and just live there for awhile.
Now, reading a book in one sitting sometimes just isn’t possible, but it’s always my preferred method. In college, I hardly ever read a book in one sitting, except on the weekends or on breaks. I would have loved to gulp my books down, but between classes at random time and the homework pile that never really went away, it wasn’t possible. And even now, I don’t always get the luxury.
I’m lucky in that I’m not in school, so why I sometimes have to *do* stuff when I get home from work(like, look for another place to live since my lease is up in May), most of the time my evenings are mine. I’m involved in a few things outside of work but nothing that really demands a whole lot of my time, and I’m pretty good about being ahead of my work as well as extra projects I take on. I write a lot in the evenings, but I also read a lot. And I read fast, so it’s pretty feasible for me to read a book in an evening provided it’s less than 500 pages and go to bed at a reasonable hour(I don’t cap at 500 pages though. . . I just go to bed at a not reasonable hour. Who needs sleep when you have bookish adventures? Luckily, this doesn’t happen often).
How I read a book in 1 sitting:
I gather the supplies. If it’s a work evening, I take a shower right after I eat dinner & go for a walk and do a series of exercises in my room so I don’t have to fuss with my hair(and yes, I do plan this out this thoroughly). I grab a glass of tea or water depending what I’m in the mood for, my phone, maybe a snack, and my post-its. I take to the couch or my bed, wherever I want to read that day, and it begins.
I like to have my phone with me, but I lay it face down on the table so I’m not distracted unless it’s a conscious choice. I’ve started marking my favorite lines or passages with sticky-notes, but I sometimes also take pictures on my phone, which is why I include it in my necessities.
I start reading, but every 75 pages or so, I’ll take a quick five minute break. Sometimes this happens right after a big twist in the story I want to absorb a little more. That’s when I normally update my Goodreads status and maybe get on twitter for a few minutes. These breaks rarely last more than ten minutes, because why I am in many ways “coming up for air” from my book, I don’t want to really get out of the story. It’s just a quick refresher, and then I dive back in again.
How many breaks do I take? Well, the last book I read in one sitting was Cress. That book is 560 pages, and I think I took four, maybe five breaks. I was so absorbed in the story I only took breaks when I found my mind starting to get a bit tired, or my eyes a bit strained. Other than that, I was ready to never, ever leave that story.
Why I love being a one-sitting reader:
Reading a book like this is the way I absorb myself into the story and world. I know some people do this by reading slowly–reading as slowly as they can, and taking many breaks so they don’t have to leave the world so soon. Most of the readers I know in real life are like that, and I’ve tried it. But for some reason, it’s never really worked for me. If I read a book in too many settings, I go restless. It’s hard for me to keep one foot in the real world and one in the fictional world, and having to keep go back and forth. Sometimes I want to read slow so it last longer, but every time I try, I find myself really struggling to connect to the story.
I also don’t binge read series–not because I dislike to, but because it never seems to work out for me. That seems to be another way people get really into a world and a story, but since I don’t do that, most of the time just because I might also have library books out that need to be read or something like this, gulping a book down in one sitting is how I do that.
Sometimes when I talk to people about how I read like this, they ask if I wish I read slower so I appreciated everything in the book more. I know that definitely works for some people(and that’s another thing I love about the community of readers–we all read differently, and there’s no “right” way to read!), but for me, getting to the point where everything slips away but that world in a frenzied pace is the most appreciative thing I can do as a reader. If I read your book in a single sitting, just a few hours, that’s pretty much the best compliment *I* give. Reading this one makes everything fall away except that world, and while it’s sometimes just not possible to read a book this way, when I do, it’s pretty much reader euphoria for me.
Let’s chat: What’s your preference for reading? Do you like to read a book all in one sitting like I do, or would rather read in chunks? Whatever your preference is, are you able to read that way most of the time, or does life get in the way of that?