My Shameful Secret

If you read the title of this post, you are probably dying to know what my shameful secret is. Have I committed some crime? Did I rob a bank? Am I a double-agent? Do I moonlight as a real housewife on a reality show? The what-ifs could go on and on.

But here it is. My shameful secret…Kerri Carpenter

Are you ready?

Are you sure?

I’m a slow reader!!!

*Hangs head*

A really, really slow reader. I pick up a book. I begin reading. Flowers begin to bloom. Babies are born. The Earth completes countless rotations. And I’m flipping to page 20. Page 20 out of 220.

It’s shameful for me because I’m a freaking writer. And because I read every single night and have been reading every single night since I was a child. I even read when I’ve had a couple glasses of wine and am somewhat tipsy. That might actually help with my speed, come to think of it…

For years, it’s killed my soul every time I hear someone say they just LOVED a book and finished it in one night. One night? I’m lucky if I can finish one chapter in a night.

Maybe part of this has to do with the fact that I’m reading/simultaneously studying the way the author puts the words together. I like seeing what conflict she picks or where she sets her story. Sometimes I read a paragraph and it makes my own writer-brain run off to the creativity forest and immediately start coming up with my own plot lines and ideas.

But now, it’s time to finally come clean. I’ve kept this shameful secret to myself for years. Finally, I’m ready to step out of the shadows and acknowledge my imperfections.

Hello, my name is Kerri, and I’m a slow reader.

Tell me in the comments: Fast reader or slow? I promise to read every answer. Which, of course, will take me three days.

13 thoughts on “My Shameful Secret

  1. Take heart, sister Mermaid Kerri! Dearest Husband and Everlasting Daughter are also slow readers, and they ALSO are writers! You’re in good company with these two.

    Me, I’m a fast reader. And I can finish a book in one night. But I would never brag about it. And the next time someone says they finished a book in just one night, they probably aren’t bragging – think of it as how the book was so fascinating and enjoyable they just couldn’t put it down, and put everything aside until it was over.

    LIke me with FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS or A MILLION LITTLE PIECES. Both were books I picked up on a whim (on a Friday). They caught my attention on the first page, and I kept reading (even skipping meals) until I was done. Because they both simply refused to give me a break. I read them both in a single weekend. For Peter or
    Carol, it would take several weeks, or a month. We’re not a judgey family, though.

    And isn’t that what we all want to write? A book that refuses to let you go.

  2. I’m a fast reader. Like, 100 pages an hour. But I’ve been reading since I was three. I reach some sort of meditative trance when I read. It’s a beautiful thing.

    The hardest part is that with all the writing I’ve been doing lately, I haven’t been able to read. I will drop everything for Jude Deveraux or Sarah Addison Allen, but even then the guilt overwhelms me. It takes me a week to finish because I get so distracted. I miss those days when I could just get lost in a book.

    I love *and* hate when readers tell me they loved my book so much that they read it in one day — my brother just did that. And I think, “Hooray, but GAH It took me a YEAR to write that! Slow down!” So…on behalf of my slow-writing author side, thank you for being a slow reader. 🙂

    Love, Alethea
    (Who has barely written 5000 words and it’s halfway through NaNoWriMo)

  3. Oh, I am so guilty of that. I read much slower now that I’m writing. if it’s a good book, I’m tearing the paragraphs apart, trying to figure out what made it work so well. If it’s just an okay book, I’m reconstructing it, figuring out how i would have made it better. I can’t just read for fun anymore.

  4. I’m not the fastest reader, either. I’ve often wish I were quicker, considering how many great books are out there, but hey, it’s an individual thing. Everybody’s different. Enjoy your books, however fast or slow you may be! 🙂

  5. Hi Kerri, great post!!! I’m going to echo Alethea’s sentiments here. I’m a fast reader, but my sister is LIGHTNING fast. When she was eight and I was twenty, I discovered that she reads at least three times as fast as me, maybe more. I can read a short YA book (70k) in one night. She can do it in an hour. I’m not even joking. Once, she was reading my book on the train. She texted me to tell me she was starting it. And then she texted me again to tell me she finished — an hour later. My reaction was: “What?! I just slaved over that book for a year, and you’re done already?! “

  6. Depends on my interest…if I’m really interested, then I’m super fast Then I like to go over certain parts again. Of course, there are also times when I am fast because I will skip over stuff I’m not interested in or is boring to me! Although now that I think about it, I have been getting slower, especially at night when I get sleepy. I used to make myself stay up to read but now I just close the book and go to sleep!

  7. I’m pretty fast.. but then again, I know probably miss stuff. So it’s not a bad thing to be a slow reader. You’re stopping to smell the words.

  8. Yes, I’ve got to join the slow boat, too. Except I read The Marriage Bargain in a day (maybe six hours, for me a RECORD!). Now, do audiobooks count? Maybe not:)…but I’m trying to speed up. I’m reading Suzanne Brockmann’s Night Watch now, and must admit I’m flying through it. Not in a day – because #amwriting, too, but it’s flying when I can sit and read…

  9. I’m not as fast as Pintip’s sister, but I’m pretty fast. I’m also a bit obsessive, so it’s a dangerous combination. If I’m reading a book I love, I’m not putting it down until it’s finished. Period.
    For instance, I started HUNGER GAMES late on a Friday afternoon, whizzed through CATCHING FIRE on Saturday and finished MOCKINGJAY on Sunday. And, Kerri, you’re partly at fault for my kids eating lots of cereal that weekend, since you were the one who told me I HAD to read the series. See? OCD with reading.
    I wish I could say the same thing with my writing. ugh.
    Maybe someone is ignoring their kids right now while they’re reading FLIRTING WITH THE COMPETITION. 😉
    I wouldn’t worry about being a slow or fast reader. No matter how long the journey takes, the destination is the same.

  10. Thanks everyone for commenting!!!!! You have all made me feel much, much better. Now, back to (slowly) enjoying my current book! Happy Reading! 😉

  11. Totally a slow reader and I’ve been reading since I was a toddler as well. **sigh** I’ve been known to read short books in a day but we’re talking 8 hours … when I had 8 hours to burn in a day as a child. Man, how I miss those days! With e-readers and being a computer all day, my eyes have been too tired to focus on reading, so I usually set a goal for a chapter a night of a book. Otherwise, my vision blurs and my eyes dry up. I did recently finish a fabulous mermaid’s book while away on vacation. Have to admit that I read it pretty fast too. 😉

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