Becoming a better reader

I am naturally a galloping reader.  I rattle through books at top speed, eager to know what happens next, then (if the book is good) I’m gutted when I get to the last page.  I feel like I’ve lost a great friend.  

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this approach – it’s an indicator of how much I’m enjoying the book in question and the fact that it’s a good page-turner.  But I sometimes think some of my appreciation of the book is lost in the speed at which I devour the words.  

Since I’ve started writing the way I read has definately changed.  Before I read mainly for enjoyment (I’m talking about novels here) but now I also read to learn.  I think about the author’s style, genre, characters, language and anything else I can absorb along the way.  I still read quickly but I think I appreciate and reflect more as I go along and it means that not only do I know whether I’ve enjoyed the novel, I also have a clearer understanding why.

I’ve just finished The Fearless by Emma Pass which I enjoyed a lot.  A great adventure, which I gobbled up at the usual speed.  But I stopped and reflected several times along the way so when I read the final page I knew exactly why I enjoyed it: sound plot, straightforward language, strong characters, each with their own clear voice (the chapters are written in the first person from the point of view of one of the three main characters which is very effective) and vivid settings (I was in no doubt where the story was without any unnecessary long descriptions). 

I think my point is that I enjoy books more now that I’m becoming a better reader!  I would love to know what your reading style is and whether you are a galloper or a reflector when it comes to reading…..