Reading in Fast Forward

Monday, September 7, 2015


Who among here would admit to skimming a book just to be done with it? To wanting to know how a book ends even though something is bothering or annoying you? Whether it’s because of too-flowery-bordering-on-pretentious prose or characters you want to strangle with dental floss or plot as ridiculous as sea lions wearing elf costumes (that sounds cute), come on, speak up! Because I do. I am a badge-wearing member of Team Skimming. Because who wants to sit through the B-plots or the cardboard cutout characters that make you want to gouge your eyes out, right? But I do something a bit weirder. I actually skim books I enjoy. Books I can’t put down. Books that leave me at the edge of my seat.

You see, I love anticipating. Spoilers make me giddy. Just the thought of something happening brings such immense joy to me. And when I actually do get to that glorious moment I’ve been building up in my mind and it delivers? Beware of my total brain meltdown and my constant yapping. You may argue that knowing what happens next dilutes the surprise. I do agree with you, when it comes to mysteries and thrillers. You may argue that building up a moment or a twist or an event in my brain will just end to disappointment. It usually does. But that’s the beauty of my system. I already know what happens so the author can amaze me by HOW it happens.

Ready Player OneI don’t even make a conscious decision to skim. Take for example Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. The pages were flying by, I was reading so fast. Then it started. I was so invested and curious that my eyes just skimmed and found the things and events I needed to know. After spazzing and breathing in deeply to calm myself down, I went back to where I was reading and reveled in the fact and read in peace that what I wanted to happen happened.

Yes, it took me quite some time to finish Ready Player One but it was all worth it. I skimmed every few pages, with every single adventure Wade Watts faced. I couldn’t stop doing it, I just had to know if he was safe, if everyone is safe, if everything is exciting. Then I went back to where I was and read it properly. It sounds insane and stupid but I truly love doing this. When I read the parts I missed properly, I get to focus on the prose and the characters, without all the worrying. With adventure-packed tales of explosions and hacking and all things exciting, the plot can be so enthralling that you get swept up in its fast pace, not noticing oddities and discrepancies or that glaring loophole in the science. You just want to get to the thrill, to the big finish, to the largest explosion or maybe the Bollywood dance. With my method, I get to enjoy and pay attention to every detail. Well, at least I think so.
Open Road Summer
This needing to know happens with books in series too. I ship hard, you’d think it was my existence on the line like if my grandmother and grandfather hadn’t met in an alternate universe. If my ship is in danger and I am not sure what is the endgame, it’s likely that I haven’t read the next book or the last book in that series. I don’t know if I can ever read Requiem by Lauren Oliver because I just want to live in my Julian bubble in Pandemonium. After a year-long wait, I could not not skim P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han because the need to see my ship sailing was of paramount importance. Emery Lord’s Open Road Summer took me a long time to finish because I still skimmed and relived the glorious moments with Matt Finch even though I was supposedly doing my proper read.

I don’t know what spurred me to start skimming books I am quite loving. Like I said, it was not a conscious decision on my part. I just noticed that I kept on doing it. I don’t even pick genres! Be it for the sci-fi fairytale retelling that is Cinder by Marissa Meyer or the futuristic tale of a world with alternate history Plus One by Elizabeth Fama or the contemporary romance Whatever Life Throws at You by Julie Cross, if I like it, I skim it.

But never ever tell me a spoiler for a thriller or a mystery. I will gut you.


3 comments:

  1. I've skimmed before with books that were going too slow just to know if reading will be worth it but for books I'm enjoying, I don't exactly skim- just tend to read much faster. Can't help but devour a story you love, right?

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  2. Ha, the books I skim are the opposite from yours. I’ve skimmed books—usually the ones I’m not very into in the first place. Why waste my time with a book I know I’m not liking? I don’t like to DNF, so skimming is a better option for me. I tend to skip to the ending of books that give me a lot of anxiety of worrying something’s gonna happen that I don’t like or don’t want happening. That’s why I can’t really read thrillers because that anticipation killllls me. I need to know for peace of mind.

    But if I’m very into the book? I’m totally not gonna skim because I want to savor every little moment.

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  3. I hate spoiling myself so I don't skim. I don't know but It felt like cheating. If I don't like what I'm reading, I DNF. :D

    P.S. I love that Gone Girl gif. :)

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