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Old 4th Aug 2011, 16:56   #221
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Default Re: Annoying little things

I can't remember the last time I read something in a single sitting. I think I read True Grit in a couple of sessions but one of those involved a couple of hours in a railway station waiting room with nothing else to occupy me.

Sometimes I just find it hard to devote my attention to something for hours at a stretch. I've been known to take a couple of goes to finish a short story of ten or twenty pages.
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Old 4th Aug 2011, 19:41   #222
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Default Re: Annoying little things

There are some books I have read at a "single sitting" but I see no particular virtue in being able to do so. I just so happen to be a fast reader most of the time and would stay up till the wee hours to get a really good book finished (something like a new Charlie Higson zombie book, for example), giving it three to four hours.

What would bother me is if the author kind of intends that it be read in one go, so that you only get the full effect of the entire thing if you eat it all in one gulp. Most of the time it's half an hour here or there or a couple of hours on an evening, until the hols beckon and I can read for several hours at a time.
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Old 5th Aug 2011, 2:42   #223
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Default Re: Annoying little things

I don't often read books in a single sitting these days. The kids won't let me. On the rare occasions when I manage to pull a sickie duvet day - and get time in bed to (and by) myself - I can easily polish off two, or sometimes three, page turning trash pulp novels a day. Not 300-400 pages each doorstops though. I tend to read older trash page turning pulp novels, modern ones are just too long. I have a theory that books would be a lot shorter if authors had to type them out on a manual Underwood with no carbons.

The last biggie I remember reading in one go was Captain Corelli's Mandolin which I did read end to end without stopping. I was in tears at the end of it but that might have had a tiny something to do with sleep deprivation.
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Old 5th Aug 2011, 5:02   #224
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Default Re: Annoying little things

Originally Posted by David View Post
There is a phrase that seems to be used more and more lately and which annoys me a good deal and it is single sitting when referring to reading.
David, that reminds me of the blurb on the front of John McGahern's Amongst Women (180-ish pages):
"A book that can be read in two hours, but will linger in the mind for decades" SUNDAY TELEGRAPH
Who are they kidding? After about three hours, I was only halfway through the book.

The only book I remember reading in a single sitting was Fup by Jim Dodge -- all 98 pages of it.
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Old 5th Aug 2011, 12:08   #225
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Default Re: Annoying little things

JM: I could actually imagine reading Captain Corelli in the one go - I think I got through that one in a couple of days myself.

It's not that I can't believe that there are people who whip through novels in a matter of hours - after all a lot of these people will be professional reviewers and will have trained themselves to read at speed. The Booker judges for example must have to get through about a book per day in order to read all the submissions (and at that some of them still manage to find the time to tweet largely pointless stuff about fifty times a day). I just find it really annoying when reviews that mention the "single sitting" thing are quoted on book jackets. I know that the implication is that the book is unputdownable or a real page-turner but I suspect (and the last few posts perhaps prove this) that the majority of readers don't read books in the same way as they might watch films, ie: all in one go. All it does for me is make me feel like I'm not a proper reader at all and am in some way failing.

I've been thinking about this a bit more and I actually have read one book in a single sitting (well, it was a single lying but still) and that was Ben Rice's Pobby and Dingan. And ha! how unsurprising: the first review on Amazon starts by telling us that the reader read it in one sitting. Another reviewer - mindbogglingly - read it over a cup of tea. That is some seriously quick reading! Perhaps it could become a new benchmark for the page-turning book: "I devoured this little masterpiece over a cuppa". The Hob-Nob novel perhaps?
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Old 5th Aug 2011, 12:13   #226
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Default Re: Annoying little things

Funnily enough, the speed we read may reflect the richness of the writing (given that the book is worth reading in the first place). I find I linger through a book when I am enjoying the writing, whereas I can consume an entertaining pulp novel quickly. My standard reading speed is about a page a minute, but that rises as needed and falls in order to savour.
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Old 5th Aug 2011, 12:23   #227
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Default Re: Annoying little things

That's a good point, gil. I got through The Slap pretty quickly on holiday recently. Needing something a bit more wholesome after it, I turned to Jane Eyre, which took me through the best part of the rest of the week.
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