Bookish Ramblings: Reading without a voice

I’ve been seeing more and more recently people talking about reading without a voice.  This stems from a need it seems to constantly “one up” on the amount of books a person can read each month – the Instagram battles of the monthly wrap up or the blogger who can get a new book review up every day.  I was puzzled about this and just how so many books could be read in that time, as I’m a pretty speedy reader myself yet never get near more than about 6 per month. As I looked into it further I found that there was a ton of information about how to read without a voice, as reading the words in your head as you go apparently slows you down too much.

I’m sure there has been some research into this, or at least I hope there has been. There is a lot of talk in articles I have found about training you brain to focus on the words at the beginning and the end of a line and your “brain will fill in the rest with the context it already has from the other words.” One piece of advice said “if you don’t think you have got context, don’t go back and re-read it, just carry on” another was to distract yourself whilst reading by listening to music and then the blooming obvious “just read faster.” There are even you tube tutorials on how to do it.

The following is now my OPINION, if you feel you can properly read this way then that’s fine.  What follows are my thoughts and the thoughts that I have gathered from authors I have spoken to.  Personally I love reading with a voice. I connect with the characters and absorb the world.  By reading with a voice I find myself in the pages, feeling the emotions of the characters.  It makes reading an experience. If I feel I have missed something important, I will flip back the pages and re-read until I get where the author is coming from or just simply take the time to think about what a character has been through.

A couple of people I have spoken with have said how they have noticed that some book reviews are calling authors out on plot holes and lack of context, when they have also read the book and felt that those same points were fully explained. So what is happening, why are reviewers criticising authors for non existent issues?  Could it be down to the rise of reading without a voice? Undoubtedly yes in my view and that’s not right.

I actually find it pretty sad that so many readers are missing out on the experience because of a need to be the quickest reader.  In my view it’s pretty damn insulting to an author who has poured their heart and soul and probably years of their life into making their book the best book it could possibly be. Developing their characters and world building only to have a reader read the first and last word and let their brain add the context! Especially when that then knocks on to that author that a review is unfavourable because a reader didn’t read the book properly.

Another thing is cost – yes I know there are libraries!!!  However, lots of people take advantage of amazon’s cheap paperbacks, free kindle deals and may not have a local library. But having blogged for a couple of years now I can say that the number of free books I get for review is vastly less than the books I pay to read.  That isn’t a plea for free books, I don’t have a problem paying an author for their work, the point I’m getting at is, a person who reads without a voice would conceivably struggle to routinely get the volume of books they read for free. Especially if they are focusing on traditional publishing. So some people are spending small fortunes on books they don’t even fully read!!

So why not do yourselves and authors a favour by sitting back, relaxing, finding your reading voice and immersing yourself in lovingly created world, whats the worst that could really come of reading 5 rather than 15 books this month?

Do you speed read or read without a voice, I would be interested to hear opinions on whether I have completely got this wrong.


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