Take the Time to Read a Book in One Sitting
If you opened this post, good on you. When I am frantically busy, and who isn’t these days, I am angered by anyone who has the temerity to suggest that I read a book in one sitting. While I readily accept that immersing in the world of a book is a wonderful form of self-care, who has the time?
I’ve done some ‘woman-on-the-street’ surveying and a bit of experimenting to find out when people tend to read a book this way. Here’s what I found:
- Most people plan to read a book in one sitting during a holiday or when they are on vacation.
- The unplanned version of nonstop reading happens when a book is so good that ‘one more chapter’ turns into a night without sleep.
- Nonstop reading is often weather-dependent. Snow days and rain downpours are favourites.
- When you set an annual goal on Goodreads to read 150 books and you have 35 books still to read in the final 39 days of the year. (Okay, yes, I surveyed myself.)
My Reading Experiment
There’s one other time to read a book in one sitting, and that is when you absolutely, positively do not have the time to do so! The theory is that when you step away from the madness for a while, you will return fresh, renewed, and super productive.
I had one of those days last week and I’m behind on Goodreads, so I stopped everything and read a book for a few hours. I read The Girl She Used to Be by David Cristofano. Here’s an excerpt from the back cover blurb:
When Melody Grace McCartney was six years old, she and her parents witnessed a brutal act of violence–and then were lured into the Witness Protection Program. And so Melody lost her identity, her home, her family, and ultimately her innocence….Now, twenty years later and still on the run, she’s stunned when a man calls her by her real name. Jonathan Bovaro, the mafioso sent to find her, knows her, the real her. It’s a thrill Melody can’t resist, and she goes with him willingly, defying the feds.
The New York Times Book Review calls it “something special.” Publishers Weekly gives it a starred review and says that its “mad love scenario sizzles like garlic in hot olive oil.” Doesn’t that sound like the perfect book for some nonstop reading? I thought so too, and I loved every minute of it.
How Fast Do You Read?
I love long books. There’s time in a long book for the author to develop the plot, and for us to care about the characters. But long books aren’t great for nonstop reading when you have limited time.
The average reading speed of the average adult is between 200 and 400 words per minute. Here’s a nifty little test if you’d like to calculate your reading speed. However, do remember that reading speed is dependent on both text and context. You will read faster if writing is logically structured and, in the case of nonfiction, if you already understand the topic.
120 Books Under 300 Pages
Cristofano’s book was a mere 241 pages. I had the benefit of feeling renewed and, indeed, more productive without having to give up an entire day or night to reading. A book under 300 pages is a sweet spot for a book to read in one sitting.
In an effort to encourage you to practice some self-care with a book of your choice sometime soon, I’ve gone through my Goodreads records and found 120 short books that I’ve read or reread in the last three years. This isn’t a ‘best of’ list. I make no promises that you will love every book, I certainly didn’t. It’s also a list with some unusual entries and some gaping holes. For example, there’s no horror and almost no science fiction. I don’t enjoy those genres.
Sixty-eight of the books are in this infographic. Titles and authors are repeated here along with 52 more books.
Share this Image On Your Site
If you need more enticement to take some time for reading, take a look at the art of women reading, the comfortable reading nooks, and the great cartoons and quotes on my Pinterest board.
When was the last time you read a book in one sitting? Any plans for a time in the near future? Have you a favourite book under 300 pages you’d like to recommend? We’d love to hear your suggestions. And if you’re curious about my rating of specific titles from my list of 120, let me know. I’m happy to share my very subjective opinions.