I am a One-Sitting Reader

Posted February 27, 2014 by Stormy in Books / 50 Comments

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?



50 responses to “I am a One-Sitting Reader

  1. Bookaholic99

    I love reading a book in one sitting. But sometimes it feels like I’m somehow not giving the book justice by finishing it in only 5 or 6 hours, and my friends constantly call me an addict. Does it make sense?

  2. belleenda

    i always read in one sitting! especially if the book excites me to the poor i can’t put it down! for instance last night i read the whole 500 page novel in 4 hours! I run out of books so quickly sometimes i wish i was a couple chapter a day reader!

  3. numinousnnp

    I love reading in one sitting if I can. I don’t take breaks. I don’t prepare nearly as well as you 🙂 When I can it’s usually a Saturday morning and I wake up and either start reading in bed or move to my couch and just sit and read. Until the book is over. Or until I have to force myself to put it down to eat something (because I must eat!). And then I can finish the book before noon (usually) and go about my day missing the book I just finished.

    But realistically I’ve ended up being a split reader – I’ll start something in the evening after I get home from work and finish it the next day or morning. So, almost all the books I’ve read recently have this divide right in the middle where I put it down to sleep.

    I really like your idea of using your phone or post it notes for your favorite parts. I usually just end up writing page numbers down on a scrap of paper if I’m lucky enough to have one in reaching distance but your way seems much nicer.

  4. I would love to read all in one sitting but sadly I just don’t have the time!! Every once in a while I can do that on the weekends but really life is just too busy to do that. I like being able to absorb a book and not have other thoughts get in the way, you know? You know!! 🙂
    I’m so jealous that you’re able to do this so often! I feel like it’s helpful for reading comprehension too. Or is it? I feel like it would help me so I didn’t forget things along the way, but also maybe hurt me because I’m taking in so much at once. Eh, my reading retention is pretty bad anyway hahaha!
    Fun post!

  5. Yes! Exactly. I’m a One-Sitting Reader as well. Sometimes it’ll extend over two days, but only when I’m really tired or unable to read. I just like being able to fully immerse myself in a story without having to take breaks, or try to remember details of the characters lives and my own.

  6. There have been a few books I’ve read in one sitting, but I rarely have that much time to dedicate to all books. I do enjoy books more if I’ve read them in fewer sittings. I feel like if it takes me a few weeks with only a half hour read here or there I have a hard time following/remembering all the details. Great post!

    • Stormy

      It definitely depends a lot on how things are scheduled and where your free time is! I tend to have a lot of time to myself in the evenings so it makes it easier.

  7. I don’t have the attention span to read a book in one sitting. I can’t sit through an entire movie either, which is part of the reason I don’t go to the movies but wait until the DVD. I start thinking about the other things I was going to do and get up to do them. I thought I was going to read Fire & Flood in one sitting (or at least one day) yesterday, but I ended up putting together a shelf instead and then it was too late to go back to my book.

    • Stormy

      For some reason, I struggle with most movies(though I do occasionally go to the theaters. . . like once a year. Maybe twice, if it’s a good movie year), but I can concentrate on a book for a really long period of time. I’m not sure why they don’t affect me the same way!

  8. I love that you have this down to a science! For me, it completely depends on the book, and even ones that I love I rarely read in one sitting (but do often read in one day). I don’t know that just the 5-10 minute breaks would be enough for me, but I’ll have to give it a try sometime.

    (Oh, and I totally use my phone to take pictures from my book too. It’s just the easiest way I’ve found to keep track of passages I might want to revisit later.)

    • Stormy

      I love that I’ve discovered other people who take pictures on their phones! It just takes me too much out of the story if I try to take notes(and then it feels like homework), but marking a page or taking a picture is an easy way for me to remember quotes & scenes I might want to specifically reference in my review or just remember.

  9. Okay, I am GREEN with envy right now!! I have no idea if I am a one sitting reader because I have never had that option. lol!! I moved in with my now-husband directly after college, and I liked to spend at least part of my nights with him, so no one-sitting books happening there. Now that I have kids? I sometimes have to make do with reading single paragraphs at a time (forget chapters). 🙂 I make do with the time I have at this point. Reading a whole book in one sitting sounds pretty heavenly though, I will put that on my bucket list! 🙂

  10. prettylreader

    I definitely don’t read as many books in one sitting as I used to (stupid work gets in the way), but that’s always an indication of how absorbed in the story I am.

    I’m definitely like you though, where I have a hard time keeping one foot in reality and one foot in a fictional world. I’d much rather stay in one or the other, for a long period of time then flip back and forth.

    • Stormy

      I think I’m lucky right now in the way my day-to-day schedule is set up in that I can read most of my books like this. It’s always been my preference, but in college it was difficult not because I didn’t have the time, but just the way I had random breaks in the day.

  11. oh wow, I love this post. I’m glad I’m not alone because I’m definitely a one sitting reader too. Usually I just get so into books I get grumpy if I have to put it down and just plain annoyed when I can’t get back to it. When I’m absorbed in the story, I just want/need to keep going and devour it. I read less when life gets really stressful because I tend to not start books as much because I know I won’t be able to read it in one sitting (or because I know I have so much to do I can’t deal with the sleep deprivation — because yes, I’ll just stay up until all hours to finish). I like reading in one sitting because everything fades away and you’re just THERE in the story, it feels like the characters are real and you’re just so immersed in it! I love it. I also am a fast reader so it works out. I obviously can’t one sit read everything though, especailly since life is extra stressful right now but it’s definitely my preferred way to read. 🙂

    • Stormy

      It’s just the best! And I get grumpy too, haha. My family has felt the full force of my wrath of interrupting my reading before. I just have to devlour stories I love.
      I do the same thing when life gets really stressful, for similar reasons. Especially the sleep thing! I know myself well enough to know that I will totally stay up late to finish a book and I really like my sleep and go to bed fairly early.

  12. Cee

    I applaud your ability to read a book in one sitting. I don’t tend to prepare or plan when I read. Sure, I can read books in one sitting, but it usually doesn’t happen as often as I like to. That’s because I am easily distracted. When I read a scene where nothing is happening, I’ll zone out. If I’m not fully invested in the story (to the point I’ll stay up instead of sleep), boom! Bye bye one-sitting reading time. I stop and do something else. It’s like my brain is telling me it needs a break. Lol.

    • Stormy

      Hah, I have always told people that one of my strongest strengths is being able to focus on one specific task for long periods of time. I definitely get distracted if the book’s not doing it for me but most of the time I get sucked in pretty quickly.

  13. Hm. Interesting post. I don’t think I could read a book in literally one sitting, but I’m a fast reader and it’s not unusual for me to read a whole book in a day. I like to just relax and completely absorb myself in a book for hours on end until there’re no more pages. And yes, breaks and snacks are very important. 😉

    • Stormy

      I’d still consider that type of reading similar, though! It’s mostly about being able to get completely absorbed in the world for a few hours. I just hate going between book world & real life world.

  14. Cait

    OH GOSH, this post is just all kinds of incredible awesome. I read so much like you!!! I’m too lazy to take notes, so I always take pictures on my iPod (of the quote and then of the page no.) and it’s the best thing ever. And I’m usually a 1-day reader. I kind of get itchy legs if I sit still too long, but I easily knock over half a book in a sitting, get up and go crazy, then sit down and finish the rest. I don’t like binge-reading series either. Frankly, I get too distracted. There are SO many new books to read. Unless I’m hopelessly in love with the series (like, er, THE LUNAR CHRONICLES) I hardly ever read them in a bunch anymore. (I did with Gone, though, a few years ago, and also the Cherub books, but I totally regret that. Some of them were pretty lame.) But yes. This post. This blog. I’m so following.

    • Stormy

      Taking notes just takes me out of the story! Being able to take pictures or use post-its to mark lines & spots is a life-saver. I can do it easily without really “removing” myself from the story. Yeah, something about binge-reading series doesn’t really work for me. The only time I do it is with my annual Harry Potter re-read, but I’m pretty sure I’ve NEVER gone from one book to the next in a series now that I think about it. Part of that is logistics, when I borrow books from library & such, but I just don’t read well that way.

  15. I’m quite envious that you’re a one-sitting reader! I rarely am able to do so because I like to read in increments, usually of 50 pages since that takes roughly around half an hour for me to get through. The issue with me is that once I start reading beyond 100 pages I start losing my patience a little and start to skim so I need to take a bit of a break. Although another issue is that I simply don’t have the time to get to read in one sitting because there’s always something else to do!

    • Stormy

      I feel that way when I read non-fiction, normally–even in non-fiction books I like, I find it hard for me to read more than 50 pages at a time. I think with fiction, if I LOVE a book I just get so sucked in and I want to forget everything. . . which means I sometimes avoid responsibilities to read just a little bit longer, haha.

  16. I love love reading a book in one sitting. I never ever want to read a book past three days. I wish I could read all my books in one day but sometimes they are just too long and I am too busy. I never read more then one book at once either. I want one book to take up my whole mind. Plus I find when I stop reading a book I kind of fall out of all the emotions I was having and then next day have to get back into the grove again.

    • Stormy

      Exactly! I can’t do this for every book(I read fairly fast, but some books are just too long for me to read all at once with the time I have to myself each day), but when I can, it’s my preferred choice.

  17. I’ve only read three books in one sitting and you are right it is ALL about the breaks ! I sometimes find it hard with big books, but I can see how it can change the way you look at a book.

    Do your read most of your books this way ?

    • Stormy

      Those brain breaks are crucial! Not enough to really draw me out of the story, but just enough to perk my energy back up.
      I’d say I read about 70%-80% of my books this way. Sometimes it’s just not possible(because I do have to go to sleep & get ready for work at sometime!), but most of the time with a normal-size book I do.

  18. It is so interesting to read about the reading habits of other bloggers! Between work and grad school and spending the weekends with my boyfriend, I never have hours to just sit down and read. Sometimes I wish I could, because I totally understand what you mean about really getting immersed in the story. It can definitely make you more appreciative of the story, too. But even when I did have time to spare, I rarely ever read stories in one shot. I like to spread them out over a few days, if possible. Sure, I love being in the story, but I don’t think I get as much out of it if I read it all too quickly and in too short a span of time. I want it to percolate in my mind so that I have new ideas and things to look for when I return to the story. I am actually in the process of writing a post about how I can’t read a story in one day, so it was super interesting to read your thoughts on this!

    • Stormy

      Yeah, I think a lot of it is dependent on life circumstances. This has always been my reading preference, but in college it rarely worked out that way(except every once in awhile on less busy weekends or holidays). But now that I have more hours in a row to myself on a daily basis, it’s much easier to manage it. Hah, that’s funny about your post, which totally makes sense! I also find it fascinating to see how other people read. I’ll definitely look forward to your post!

  19. I guess I’m kind of in the middle somewhere. There have only been a few books I’ve finished in one sitting, though they’ve never been more than 300 pages long. I can manage about 150 pages in one sitting, but after that I get exhausted and I tend to leave it for the next day (or the evening, if I’ve read in the morning); maybe I’ll give your five minute break method a go, though! Three or four sittings is my ideal, I think; looking at my spreadsheet, it usually takes me three days to finish a book. Any more than that, and I start getting restless too, and I find myself less interested in it.

    • Stormy

      Yeah, it’s pretty impossible for me to read anything more than 300 pages without at least one five-minute break. Just a quick stretch to sort of recover my energy & make sure I’m still paying attention! I’ve been known to walk about my house still READING a book if I start to get tired, haha. I tend to get committed! If it takes me more than 3 days to finish a book(that’s not absurdly long), that tends to be a HUGE sign I’m not enjoying it and should consider DNF-ing.

  20. I always find it interesting to discover how others read because there is a lot of variety in people’s preferences. I don’t actually know anyone who intentionally sits down to read a book in one sitting but your reasoning makes so much sense! I’ve never read a book in one sitting but before having a baby I did indulge in reading for long periods of times (a thing of the past now!) and I loved it! I definitely felt like I could involve myself in a story more than as opposed to snatched periods every now and then. I am trying to get some of that reading time back though but concentrating when I have me time (aka nap time) as opposed to getting absorbed in other activities that really aren’t of importance – distraction easily comes to me of late.

    I liked learning about your preferred way of reading. In a way, we get to know you more as a reader.


    • Stormy

      Hah, yeah, life definitely gets in the way sometimes, but when possible I definitely prefer to read all at once. And the getting really involved in a story is why I love it so much.

  21. I’m a very similar reader to you. I tend to read most books in two sittings. Anything more and I start to get restless. I can’t read an entire book in one sitting because I don’t really have a lot of long blocks of time in my day, but if it takes me a long time to read a book, I, like you, have a difficult time staying in either world. Plus, taking lots of breaks or lengths of time between reading takes away from the flow of the story for me. Or I forget what happened. Basically, I totally understand why you read the way you do because I’m the same way.

    • Stormy

      Yeah, I think I lack the focus to read a book over time. I can focus for a long period of time(which is why I prefer to read all at once), but to keep focus on the same story for bits of time is really difficult for me, and always has been–which is also why I don’t like having to jump around from task to task. It’s always been my preference, even when school and activities made it unlikely I’d be able to read a book all at once.

  22. Interesting. I have never been a one-sitting reader, but this is mainly do to not prioritizing it like you do. I have read books in one day, but I will take long breaks while reading it.

  23. Amy M. @ AYA M. Productions

    I don’t think I ever really thought about this before. I generally read my books in one sitting. Although, sometimes I just can’t stay up to finish a book. So it may roll over to the next day. However, whatever book I decide to read is usually finished before the end of the day.

    I do binge read series though if the series is already complete and fully released. I don’t like to wait, so I usually read the books one after another. I also find finishing a series difficult when I have to wait so long. I’ve had all that time to anticipate it, then I realize I don’t want it to end. So I put it off. I’m more likely to quickly finish the series if it’s all been released.

    This is quite an interesting topic. Definitely had to think about this one.

    • Stormy

      Ha, I actually don’t typically binge read series mostly for practical reasons. But I just want to get absorbed in the world so much(at least, if I’m enjoying a book), and reading it all at once in the way to go for me.

  24. Nice post! I rarely ever read a book in one sitting. It’s just too much for me and what I don’t like is that I later feel like it has gone by too fast. Like before I had the time to get into the story. I feel like I need a few days for that to happen. But I do read a whole book if I have a long train journey or something…

    • Stormy

      Yeah, the “goes by too fast” thing is the only downside of reading a book at once(well, for me). Sometimes I’d like to draw it out longer, but at the same time I want to get so IMMERSED in the story that I end up just gulping it down.

  25. This is a good topic but I find it difficult to read books in one sitting. Granted, I’ve done it before, but I then struggled when I try to create a good, full book review. I tend to read two books at once, and I’ll try to aim for either an hour a night for each book or 70+ pages until I tire of it, and after I’ve done that for one book, I’ll then make notes of of the plot, the characters, my feelings and I’ll rate each ‘pit stop’ if you like. I do with all my books, but when I read in one sitting, I don’t relaly get good pit stop thoughts; they’ll be quick, rushed and I don’t have time to really think about the overall story at different points. It’s fun to see that you are the complete opposite to me, but I’ll also read a single book in different places; on the bus, in college, at home, at a friends, and that also helps me pit stop better too. It’s nice to see the different in how others read. This was a really good post and I hope my comment’s not too long, sorry Stormy 🙂

    • Stormy

      I use to read multiple books at once, and I still do that every once in awhile, but now I find it too difficult to jump around if I don’t have to(the exception is with non-fiction. . . if I’m reading a non-fiction book, I’m definitely also reading a fiction book). But that makes total sense with the way you read! I don’t take notes on my books because I feel it draws me out of the story so much(when kind of goes along with how I like to read all at once), sticky notes are a life-saver for that, because when I’m done with a book I do like to make “quick thoughts” notes to help me when I review later(which I use to write down in a notebook, and now I actually post on my tumblr–it’s an easier way for me to remember things I want to mention in my reviews.)

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