POLL: How long does it take to read a book?
I know that this will vary from book to book but generally I finish a book in one day if not in one sitting. I generally start a book after I’ve put the tot to bed and finish it before I go to sleep. If it is a particularly good book, I’ll read into the wee morning hours. Who needs to sleep when you can read right? Libraries give people 21 days to finish a book (which is why it is the high end of the poll). I’m curious about your general reading habits, knowing that occasionally you’ll spend longer or shorter depending on the book.
A category romance, roughly an hour and half.
A typical romance novel, between two and four hours.
I don’t like interruptions because if I stop reading a book it’d take a long time before I’d get back into it, so I usually wait until I’m sure I wouldn’t be interrupted.
Edit: day?! How about hours? :D
I read fast. If it’s a standard sized paperback – say under 300 pages, I’d say it takes me less than 24 hours, depending on what else is going on. Shorter, category length, take me a couple, maybe 3 hours total. Longer paperbacks more like 5 or so, depending. So, usually, I can wedge that into a 24 hour period.
I’m also a serially monogamous. reader. I am very, very rarely (almost never) reading more than one fiction book at a time.
If it is good…I read pretty fast. An average single title romance, about 7hrs give or take. Usually in one sitting…certainly willing to loose sleep to finish the story! Longer books…two to three days. By longer I mean Diana Gabaldon size books and a first reading. 2nd and 3rd readings can be accomplished in a day with only breaks for picking food up from the nearest restaurant. (Echo has been the exception…going on three weeks to try and finish! Uuugghhh!)
If a book is really good…and I am willing to be totally obsessive, I can read it faster! Or if it is a repeat read.
I voted two days because that’s what I’m averaging at the moment. I usually have 1-2 hours to read before going to sleep, so it very much depends on the length of the book and whether or not I’m naughty and stay up late to finish it. Left to my own devices, I would sit down with a book and read it cover to cover.
I can read a category romance pretty fast-about 2-3 hours. A mass market paperback about 1-2 days. But sometimes I make myself slow down a lot so that I can really savor the writing. :)
I’m the five day voter. I am a very slow reader anyway, and I have little time to do it on any given day. Especially workdays, when the only reading gets done after 9:00pm when work is over and kids are in bed.
BC (before child) I read about 500 pages a day. Now, on a good day I read about 200 pages. I don’t like to read in fits and starts, so I try to read for a couple of hours each evening.
I used to do the all-nighter reads and the long lazy Sunday afternoons reading in a big chair with a cuppa. But I don’t anymore. Lots and lots of LIFE interrupted all that pleasure, and I’ve never quite gotten back to it. I miss it! Now I read 2-3 books a month. Maybe this winter, I’ll up my score . . .
When I was working, I would get up early enough (or go to work late enough) to allow at least an hour for breakfast reading. Then I would finish the book after dinner.
Now that I am retired, the breakfast reading frequently turns into “until I finish”, which means there is time for a second book in the evening.
And if it’s a cold, rainy, miserable day and there is nothing I absolutely must do, I’ve been known to go through three books in a day.
Retirement is lovely.
@Jane O: I think I hate you…(looks up retirement age in her employee handbook).
I admit, I’m a slow reader and a 5+ day reader, too. I get through about 3 or 4 books a month. True some are 1,000+ page epics, but even categories can take me a while.
I think it’s because I lost my main reading routine. I used to do most of my reading while commuting to college by subway or in bed before going to sleep or if I had time in the mornings. Now I drive to work, either have evening plans on the weekends or don’t have the energy to stay up too late reading any more (though that has been tested this week with a good book I’m reading now!), and actually have to get out of bed in the morning… Reading has become something I have to plan for now, which kinda sucks.
I’m a 5+ day reader too. But that’s a generalization. There have been books I’ve finished in two days, and books it took me a month to read.
I used to be a much faster reader before I switched languages (English is not my native language but it is my primary language). I find that when the prose is really good I don’t mind slow reading because it allows me to savor the words.
My only dedicated reading time is during my daily commute (bus and subway, not car just in case anyone was worried) and since that’s gotten a lot shorter recently, it takes me longer to finish a book. My Buy-In-Hardcover authors are usually finished faster because I’ll take time in the evening to read those.
I have to also say, it depends on the book. Some I can zip right through with 1-2 days but then others, for one reason or another, will take me close to a week to finish.
I am almost never reading only one book at a time. I usually have at least two in progress, in different genres, so I read about 1/3 to 1/4 of each at a time. I read a lot of LONG books, and I often finish two or three romance novels while making my way through a single epic fantasy. I read for two or three hours a night. I also have my “purse book,” something short and light that I keep with me for reading while I wait for the 16-y-o outside his taekwondo classes three or four times a week.
On average, if there is not more than usual going on, I will say 2 days. It also depends on length of novel.
When I’m on writing breaks, a book is day is average for me. Admittedly, I skim. A riveting, word-for-word read might take more than one day. Recently, I read The Hunger Games in two sittings/two days. A few years ago, I read a Harry Potter in one day. That was a little bit insane.
I can finish a book in a day or two, but I’m having a harder and harder time finding time to read! Before I started writing, I’d go thorugh four or five books a week. (Let’s just say I have some triple-stacked bookshelves.) Now…I have to give up writing time to read. It takes a really good author to make me walk away from my laptop.
I’m with Jane. I hate you. ;-) Actually, I’m sure you’ve earned the respite. Enjoy it! (Counting on fingers how many years ’til I can “85 and out,” but I need more hands.)
It typically takes anywhere between 2-3 days for me to finish a book. If I put life completely on hold I can read it in a few hours. It is hard for me to go right into the next book becasue if I’ve finished a really good book, I need closure so I’ll go back and re-read the parts that I really liked.
This is a hard question to answer, because the answer really does vary depending on the length of the book, the density of the writing, and what’s going on with my schedule (work, the anti-reading time). Plus, I’ve usually got more than one book going at a time – if I’m not in the mood for one book, I can read another for a bit, and then switch back to the other one when I’m in the mood for it again – depending on how many books I’m reading that way at once, it can take a while to finish a book.
I put “one day”, but I really resonated with the comment post about the number of hours instead of days. When reading fiction, I generally like to read a book all at once, because that way I’m engaged in the whole story–which, I think, is sort of the point of reading fiction.
But when I read nonfiction, I generally have about seven or eight books going at once. I chalk it up to the ADD, but it could just be that I’m not cut out for nonfiction.
On a side note, it frightens me how many people would not be able to answer this poll at all because they don’t read books. Ever. It seems like those reports on the number of American adults who don’t read even one book in a year keep inching up every year… which astounds me. I suppose, though, to each her own.
If I could read non-stop, a regular 500 page book would take me about 1 hour and a half to 2 hours. Because of work and having to commute, I can’t read more than 1 book a day. I can’t afford to stay up late either (I have to get out of bed at 5:45 am every morning). So, with those limitations, I chose 1 day. That is my current average.
I voted 5 days as well. I am a slow reader and take a long time to get through books, even though I only ever read one book at a time.
Depends on the book. Like Tara Marie, BC, I read more because I had more time to devote to reading. I also read for my job and that takes precedence over leisure reading.
For a category, 90 minutes. For a 300-350 pg mm romance, mystery, or sff, 4-7 hours, depends on how interested I am–more interested means I read every word and take longer.
Lit Fict depends upon how meditative the writing style. (Meditative=slower reading) Some books I fly threw as quickly as genre and some take ages for me to finish or DNF (it becomes a perpetual project to be picked up when it recaptures my interest).
For NF books, days and days (months, years). I read them a chapter at a time. Often I put a book down after a few chapters and return to it months later, or when the topic again piques my interest. Been reading Karen Armstrong’s “A History of God” for 12 years. I’m through chapter 6.
I can read 2-3 romances or Young Adult books on a workday and more on a weekend. On the other hand, it takes a lot longer for me to read nonfiction or books which require more mental processing. I usually read 3-4 books at a time. There are some books I finish years or even decades after I start them (although when it gets into the multi-year time scale I generally need to re-start them as well).
I used to use the bookmobile and woulD read 40 HQNs a week lol. That was years ago though. I read a HQN size book in less than 2 hours. A regular size hardback in about 4 . I have to make myself slow down on anticipated books like the Kushiel series or Gabaldon books so they’ll last more than a day.
I read way too fast using the kindle ap on my iPod touch. I don’t know why using that makes me feel like I’m in a race to finish book before battery dies lol
I said 2 days, but that’s only because I have to limit my reading time. So it will take me about 3 hrs tops to read a 400 pg book. I used to read faster than that, although I’m not sure why I’ve slowed down. Maybe because I don’t get to read to the extent I always had before.
Fiction: I can generally get through a MM in about 3-4 hours. Something like a Gabaldon or Harry Potter book might take me about 8-9 hours. This supposes I LIKE the book. If I am only partically engaged in the story, it might take me months to finish it (like, Laura Kinsale: I’ve got three of hers started, and I can go weeks before I pick them up again). Something like House of Leaves well…I didn’t finish it. But if I had, it might’ve taken me more than a week; what with all the interactiveness (getting up to the mirror to read a paragraph and things of that nature).
Non-Fiction: Depends entirely on the subject matter and the author’s writing style. For ex: early Alison Weir bios take about 2-5 hours, depending on the size. Her more recent bios: can’t finish them. Boring, boring, boring. Howard Zinn: takes about a week. I like to read a chapter or two and then think about stuff. That means I won’t read the whole thing in one sitting.
Counting the months here! In the meantime semi-retirement is beautiful.
My friends that still work full time make scarey noises at me when I say I’m excited about an up-coming snow storm. Love those cold, wintery days with nothing but the coffee pot and a stack of books. (and my DH glued to some channel that has people eating weird things or finding ghosts. To each their own as long as the other is quiet.)
I’ve also stopped racing through books like I did when I had little people at home so now I can put a book down knowing that it won’t be long before I get back to it.
(Have I mentioned lately how much I love authors? I do.)
Same. The only books which take me more than a day are ones I don’t really enjoy but force myself to read anyway, certain types of non-fiction, and certain types of looooong historical fiction (think Edward Rutherford/Jack Whyte). Otherwise, it’s a matter of hours. I’ve read five books on a workday before, and probably will again.
I usually read long books and also usually have a fiction and a nonfiction that I am reading at the same time. Generally when I am reading something I have to rather than for pleasure I tend to read a lot faster.
At one time I probably averaged a book a day but now it takes me up to 3 days to read a book. My best quality time with books happens any more when I get a chance to listen to an audio book.
Retirement? Not likely in this lifetime. I am such a workaholic I don’t know what I would if I retired. I tried slowing down and picked up two new hobbies to fill up the space.
Me, too! :(
I used to read in bed and usually until the wee hours. Now my health is kinda fragile, and I can’t go without sleep like I used to. So I’ve had to cut out bedtime reading altogether because I. Can’t. Stop. Reading.! Planning to read isn’t working well for me. :(
I need to learn to read in multiple sittings, but I’m stuck in one sitting mode.
Usually 2 days due to time restraints, but like you said, if it’s really good, I’ll stay up really late. For romance, mystery, etc, I can read about 100 pages in an hour. I read as I’m putting my toddler down for her nap (she gets all worried about finding me a book when she’s ready for a nap) and usually when I’m getting her to sleep at night, too, though sometimes she is too wound up to fall asleep with the light on.
It depends… “Normal” books take maybe 2 hours. Larger books, or those with lots of plotlines and characters, take a bit longer. But I generally get done with a book by the end of the day (or I’m up at night wondering what happened).
When I was in college, I would ignore my required reading in favor of historical romance, I would finish a book every 2 days. But now, at 26, I am in the throes of career-hood and it takes a week to read a book, and it’s usually contemporary… I have realized that I rarely will try a new historical debut, accolades or no. When I have (Anna Campbell’s Untouched, Joanna Bourne’s Spymaster-something) I gave up at page 100 from intense boredom. I stick with Connie Brockway, Eloisa James, Julia Quinn, Lisa Klepas, Loretta Chase–and will only experiment when my unfailing guide, Mrs. Giggles says to.
Unless you have tons of time on your hands, what’s the point in reading a book a day? I find that I savour my reading time more when it’s during lunch or before dinner or before I go to sleep.
I’m a less than a day reader. But as I mentioned last night at an Elementary School’s reading night that I volunteered at…I would be the obsessive reader who won my elementary school’s reading contest by reading over 1,000 books in 3 months (the next highest student read 50 books.)
One day unless it’s the new Gabaldon: then all bets are off!
I’m going to have to echo the first commenter in wanting an hours option.
Typically a 350pg book will take 2-3 hours depending on how much I’m concentrating.
I read while commuting, and will need a new book every other day or so. Then will read 3-4 books in the evening / weekends, so I go through about 8 or so books minimum a week.
My main reading time is before bed and before I get out of bed. I actually prefer to read while lying down, so I don’t do a lot of reading during the day.
I can go through a category in 90 minutes, depending on the length. Anything else will range from 1-4 hours depending on whether or not I skim it because it’s not engrossing me but I still want to know what happens or whether I actually read it because it’s so good.
I generally read a 500-600 page book in about 4 hours.
I voted 1 day.
With eagerly anticipated new releases I usually won’t start until I know I have enough time blocked out to read them all the way through.
Category length books I can usually read 2 or 3 in one day if I let the housework slide a bit – LOL.
But I also fall in the multiple days category with my “purse” book. I always keep a spare paperback in my purse to read while I am in line at the store or bank, waiting in the car while playing taxi-driver for the teenager, etc. It's how I try many new-to-me authors. Of course, if I get sucked into the story my “purse” book can get bumped up to primary book status, in which case I would finish reading it that evening.
I’m capable of reading a book in a day (assuming it’s a novel and not too densely written; if it’s a translation of Immanuel Kant, I’m capable of reading about two pages/day), but I selected 3 days because with my current schedule, that’s what it works out to in practice. With a toddler and a mentally disabled older child, reading in short bits is a lot easier than reading in long rushes!
I used to be a fast reader.
I chose 4 days. That’s actual reading time, not time from starting it to finishing it. It takes me a while because I have so many other things to do and the books get put down for days at a time.
And there is always writing or editing to do.
Of course, now that my drier has died, I will be having more waiting time which equals more reading time.
I like to finish a book in one long-ass session and need total silence while reading. I’m fortunate to have a weekday off work, which is wonderful. On reading days I start right after dropping the kids at school and don’t stop until I’m finished with the book, which is generally 12 – 16 hours. *when they get home they can eat anything they please, as long as they’re quiet* I make one with my couch and do nothing else that day except order pizza.
Unfortunately, I don’t get to do this more than twice a month, if that. :(
I’m so jealous of all you fast readers.
I used to be able to read a book in a couple of days, but my health has taken a dive this year and it’s taken my reading with it.
I voted for 5+ days as that is probably close to my current average.
I can read an ebook much faster than a paper book since I can read it lying down and don’t have to deal with too-small print, so it is terribly frustrating every time an ebook edition doesn’t exist or they won’t sell in to my geographical location.
Paper books can take me a week or two, while ebooks I can still do in a few days if I’m feeling okay.
My biggest problem is that I still buy books at the rate I used to, which isn’t good for the size of the TBR pile.
I’m another one sitting reader. 90min-2hr for most Harlequins and 3-6 hours for full-length single titles.
Non-fiction I also tend to read quickly, since my background’s in history. I suspect I’m a skimmer, though I feel like I read all the words.
On Saturday’s and Sunday’s I’ll read 4 or 5 books a day the rest of the week 1 or 2 or so a day. I actually run out of books by the end of the month. I think that’s why I am such a diverse reader. I’ll read just about anything! Romance, sci-fi, fantasy, cozy mysteries, thriller, suspense, romantic suspense, young adult, just about anything except non-fiction-yuck to non-fiction!
I hardly ever get to read straight through a book. Always some sort of interruption every 30-60 minutes. :( Generally it’s about 3 days.
How interesting is the book? If I like it, it’ll be finished within the day. I read while waiting for the bus. If it’s really good, I ignore my motion sickness and read on the bus, read while walking to my office, read while walking to my classes and read while walking back to my office, read during office hours, read while eating lunch, read while walking back to the bus stop holding my SONY PRS with one hand and ignore my husband at home until I’m finished. I will put the e-reader down to cook dinner, but that’s about it.
If I’m not so interested in the book, I put it down and forget to pick it up again. Eventually I will go back to it, just because I hate not finishing a book or I just want to know how it ends. Currently, I have a dead tree book sitting on the shelf that I started well over a month ago and forgot about.
I’m really not sure what the average is as I usually have maybe half a dozen books going at once. Sometimes I can do it in a couple hours, sometimes days.
Now that I’m pregnant and sleeping all the time, reading has gone down a bit.
Holy Smokes. I put four days and figured that would be a pretty fast read for me. I’m sure I used to read more books before I started writing–and God knows before I had kids, when I used to have oodles of spare time. Sigh. I do miss my long Sunday afternoon read sessions.
Even a category romance if I read it in one sitting (because I’ve broken my leg hence can’t do anything else and for some reason the kidlets have mysteriously disappeared), would take me almost a whole day. But then if I like parts I go back and read them again to savour (and analyse).
If it’s a really good book it takes less than 24 hours. If I have nothing else to do I can generally read 3 books in a weekend. My attention span is not the greatest so even when I really like a book I will get distracted by checking my email or twitter or something.
The longest it typically takes me on books that are interesting but not “omg I have to stay up into the wee hours reading” good is 3 to 7 days.
It did take me a month to read a book recently because I got so ridiculously busy with work that I didn’t have time to read. My library books were renewed 3 times and I still returned them late.
I’ve been on jury duty all this week–and it’s proved to be reading heaven! Lots of hall time, long lunches, bus rides–all spent with my nose firmly planted in a book. 5 days of service= 4 single title romances and 2 fantasy titles–all of which I believe I’ve bought on the basis of DA reviews. ;)
So, yeah, I’m a book a day person. It’s just that I rarely get to spend so many consecutive days reading. My mind is reeling with a slightly disturbing blend of civil litigation and historical romance.
I used to be able to read a book in a day – two at the most. But those were the days when sports were playing on the telly all night so I’d sit in the room and read. But now I watch a lot more TV then I used to. Plus with the increase in the number of blogs and bloggers, I spend a lot more time reading them then when I first started and between those two things, it’s taking me longer to read a book. So I picked 3 days – but sometimes it’s even longer.
I can read 100 pages an hour usually so the average book is 2-3 hrs. And I read a lot cos I dont really watch TV and dont have kids and stuff so I have lots of time.
So in a weekend, depending on whats going on I can get thru 2-3 books if I am in the right mood.
But I put down 2 days cos I often have several books on the go – read bits at lunchtime at work ETC
But yes, I would have liked an option for ‘x hours’ as well cos thats my usual measurement
PS most books read in one day ? – 5
I can read an intersting book in less than a day, if the book is great and life permits…. but life has a way of interfering with my reading (too bad) so I picked three days as avarage – on weekends it might be one book a day, during the week one book in 5….
I’m in the ‘hours’ group as well. A normal paperback with 400-500 pages will be done by 2 hours regardless of genre. 3 hours tops.
I can finish a category romance in an hour. It comes from practice. I forced myself to read faster in high school so I can finish one category book within my 1 hour free period. :)
Generally within the day. If I’m having a reading day, I might read two or three books. And that’s without any time crunch – I’m still doing all the normal household stuff as well. (“When’s tea?” “After I finish this chapter.” “But you said that an hour ago…”) But it averages out – another week, I might not read that much.
I can’t remember ever leaving a book I was really enjoying to go to sleep: at least not since I reached adulthood and had control over my own bedtime. I do sometimes make myself read a much-anticipated book more slowly – ‘Before you read the next chapter you have to do the ironing…’ to eke the happiness out a bit.
I slow down for non-fiction, because I’m thinking about it & probably trying to retain some of the information.
Uninterrupted, 1 day. Interrupted, I have no idea. I’ll say that I can get through 2 books during the work week and 2 books on the weekend.
If I’m really involved in the book, I don’t put it down. Somehow I manage to cook and read, eat and read, clean and read, and of course I go without sleep. Julia Spencer-Fleming is responsible for more than one of my cranky days at work. And I considered the risk of getting caught reading Welcome to Temptation at work, but then I thought about the bad economy, getting fired and not having any money to buy books :)
I typically read about a book a week while class is in session (I’m in graduate school and working full time) and a book every couple of days between semesters. I’m already strategically plotting my TBR list for Christmas break!
It takes me a week to read a book for a bout 4 hours per sitting. I’ve a bachelors degree in science so I’m sure enough I’m not menatlly slow. I’m really impressed with people saying they read a book after they put the kids to bed. Wow I didn’t think that was humanly possible. Simply amazing. Must work out than less than a second a scentence. Other reading a book in three hours. I’m astounded.
@Joseph: I think they mean that they sit down to read after the kids are in bed, not that they finish a whole book in that time.
It depends on what your priorities are. I don’t watch TV – I catchup on my faves once a week or so – my flatmate downloads the episodes for me to watch.
I make time to read, and because I read a lot, I also read fast. So yes, I can easily get through 100 pages an hour with a reasonable level of retention and so get thru a std sized PBK in 3 hours easily. And I don’t have kids or a partner, so my time is my own. And I choose to spend a lot of it reading :)
Though these days a lot more of it is spent either out with my camera or editing many 100s of images *sigh*
It depends very strongly on the book. Reading non-fiction, heavy science stuff – I’ll read a chapter with a meal, then go sit down with my current fiction. A category romance, first read, is – oh, two hours? If it’s good enough for a reread, about the same time (because it actually requires thought). A good SF, first read, 3-4 hours (not necessarily at one sitting, so maybe 2 days); reread, about 2-3 hours. Right now I’m rereading Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons series – kids books, but ones with real depth. They’re taking me probably 4 hours to read, but with other things going on it’s being two days per book…
Yeah, the poll has a gap. How long it takes me to read a book and how many hours it takes to read a book aren’t equivalent – I may read that non-fiction for 20 hours over two months, for instance.