11 Struggles You'll Only Understand If You're A Slow Reader

by Charlotte Ahlin

I have a confession to make, dear internet: I'm not the world's fastest reader. This is partly because I am not the world's fastest anything (you should see me jogging in the park, being swiftly overtaken by small children and elderly dogs). But this is also because I'll read a sentence, and then flip back to earlier in the book to remind myself of a character's hair color, and then stare contemplatively out of the window as I muse on the role of hair color in our society, and while I'm doing this other readers are, presumably, reading the actual book. But it's OK, slow readers. I'm pretty sure we're absorbing more information than those speed readers, even if it takes us the better part of a year. Here are a few struggles that all slow readers know to be true.

After all, you're still a reader, even if you're not a particularly fast reader. You still enjoy a good book. You're just not in any hurry. You don't have anything to prove. Reading, for you, is less of a sprint or even a marathon, and more of a leisurely stroll filled with multiple pit stops. And that's fine. Speed isn't everything. Although once in a do wish that you were the tiniest bit faster:


Avoiding spoilers when everyone else has finished the book

This was slightly more of a danger back in the day, when everyone was zipping through Harry Potter books in under 12 hours. But even now, if you're part of a book club or if you're reading a popular series, you live in constant fear that someone's going to tell you exactly how all of the Stark kids die in A Song of Ice and Fire a solid year before you finish reading the books.


Having a TBR list that’ll last you for years

You're going to read all the books on that list. It just might take you a little while. Especially because you keep adding books to the list faster than you can finish reading books on the list, so the list just keeps growing exponentially with nothing to stop it. I just hope there's someone in your life stopping you from buying more than fifty books at a time. At least you'll never run out of reading material, right?


Starting a new book before you’ve finished the old one

You want to finish that book you're reading before you start the new one...but you know how your brain works. You read a page, and then it reminds you of another book you read once, only you can't remember the title, and then it's the middle of the night and you're pulling all of the books off of your shelves trying to find that one book, and you've still only read one page. So it's honestly better to just start a new book when the feeling strikes you and trust that you'll finish the old one. Eventually.


Falling down a research rabbit hole every time you try to read a chapter

In my experience, most slow readers aren't unintelligent or uninterested in books. They're just a tad easier to distract. Reading makes them think of other things, and then they have to look those things up instead of reading. For example, when I just wrote the word "distract," it got me wondering about the etymology of "distract." So I looked it up, and it literally means "drawn away," but "tract" can also mean "book," so "distract" can also kind of mean "away from the book," which is such an apt meaning! What were we talking about?


People thinking that you don’t like reading

Speed is not the same as love, people. Just because you spent six months reading that one book doesn't mean that you didn't like it. Who would spend six months on something they didn't like? It's a struggle trying to explain to people that yes, you enjoy books even if you don't finish one every single day. What's so wrong with savoring a good book?


Having to say that’re still reading that one book

I once made the massive mistake of telling a friend that he could borrow the book I was reading as soon as I was done with it. So naturally...I had to tell him that yes, I was still reading that same book, every day for several weeks. Starting a long book is exciting, but having to tell your friends that you're still reading that same book over and over again gets really old really fast.


Getting interrupted when you’re in the reading zone

It's not easy for you to get into the reading zone. You're easily distracted, or sometimes just not in the right head space to stare at little squiggles on a page and hallucinate vividly for several hours straight. So when you are in a reading groove, and someone has the audacity to speak to you with their garbage mouth, it's the worst thing that has ever happened to anyone, anywhere.


Talking to your speed reading friends

I have a friend who can read any medium-length to long novel in about two hours flat. Does she remember anything that happens in those novels? No, but boy can she finish them. Personally, I believe that slow and steady reader remember more of what they read than all of those speed reading punks...but talking to a speedy reader can still make you feel like a turtle disguised as a human being.


Always being the last one to finish reading in class

Or being the guy who needs a few extra seconds before your friend can scroll down on the article you're both reading. Or when your phone gets dimmer because you're taking so much time to read that the phone thinks you've just left. Sigh.


Trying to read subtitles before they fly away

How are you supposed to read well if you can only look at the words for a split second before they disappear forever?? How are you supposed to look at a moving picture and read the words? What kind of media format is this? Ridiculous.


Living inside one book for so long that you’re sad when it ends

It can actually be nice to stick with one book for a considerable amount of time. The setting becomes your home. The characters become your friends. You look forward to visiting every day, or even every other day. And then, at long last, you reach the end...and you're sad that it's over. And you're actually kind of glad that you read at your own pace, because you always get a little extra time to live within those fictional worlds.