Tag Archives: Allan Ahlberg

Slow Readers

I-am-in-the-slow-read-ers-group… as the poem goes. Like so many of Allan Ahlberg’s poems, this one absolutely captures the powerful emotions of childhood. I-am-in-the-slow-read-ers-group-that-is-all-I-am-in-I-hate-it.

I’m a slow reader. I always have been, although I don’t think there was a group for it at my school. I don’t know why I’m slow – I enjoy reading and I read a lot as a child. I’m just slow at it. I’m astounded when friends tell me how many books they read in a month – part of that is making time to read them, but it’s also about how many words you can get through in an hour.

I can, if I want, skim read. But doing so is a largely pointless exercise – nothing really sinks in and I get no pleasure from it. That’s fine if I’m scanning for particular information or trying to find the right place to begin, but with fiction, I feel it’s just a waste of time to skim.

As a writer, it’s important to read. We could debate what books are the best – writers’ guides, fiction, books in the genre one writes or not – but everyone agrees it’s important to read. And so I do. I’ve just started Bridget Jones’ diary – partly for fun, partly as research for the chicklit novel I hope to write in November. I’ve got 10 days to read it before the library wants it back (their no-renewals rule is discriminatory against slow readers!).

I am in the slow readers group. I’m not a child, so I don’t hate it, but it is annoying. My husband, my brother, and anyone else who has tried to share a newspaper with me will surely agree!

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