Slow Or Fast Reading?

by Grace aka costofcollege

Maybe you should slow down your reading speed.

Slow reading advocates seek a return to the focused reading habits of years gone by, before Google, smartphones and social media started fracturing our time and attention spans. Many of its advocates say they embraced the concept after realizing they couldn’t make it through a book anymore….

Slow readers list numerous benefits to a regular reading habit, saying it improves their ability to concentrate, reduces stress levels and deepens their ability to think, listen and empathize. The movement echoes a resurgence in other old-fashioned, time-consuming pursuits that offset the ever-faster pace of life, such as cooking the “slow-food” way or knitting by hand.

Clicking on links may actually lead to lower comprehension.

Screens have changed our reading patterns from the linear, left-to-right sequence of years past to a wild skimming and skipping pattern as we hunt for important words and information.

More academics and writers are advocating a return to absorbing, uninterrupted reading—slow reading, as they call it. One 2006 study of the eye movements of 232 people looking at Web pages found they read in an “F” pattern, scanning all the way across the top line of text but only halfway across the next few lines, eventually sliding their eyes down the left side of the page in a vertical movement toward the bottom.

None of this is good for our ability to comprehend deeply, scientists say. Reading text punctuated with links leads to weaker comprehension than reading plain text, several studies have shown. A 2007 study involving 100 people found that a multimedia presentation mixing words, sounds and moving pictures resulted in lower comprehension than reading plain text did.

Skimming news articles online is different than reading a book or other longer pieces that require closer concentration, and I can see how too much Twitter and Tumblr could create habits that impair reading comprehension skills needed in other areas.  Here’s an antidote:

At Least 30 Minutes of Uninterrupted Reading With a Book or E-Book Helps

What’s your take?  How important are “slow reading” skills, or does a future filled mainly with videos and Tweets make them unnecessary?  Should schools change their instruction in any way?

Test your reading speed by clicking this link: How Fast Do You Read?  I’m betting most Totebaggers are fast readers.

 If so, would you like to suggest a book?  The idea of a book club has come up before, but I don’t remember if anyone expressed a willingness to organize and lead it.  If you are interested in taking on that role, please let me know.


131 thoughts on “Slow Or Fast Reading?

  1. I agree with the findings of the various studies. I find that I read news and tidbits online at night after my responsibilities are done, where before I would always pick up a book. I have a backlog of books I want to read, I just don’t reach for them as much as I used to, and I do attribute it to my more-lazy habits. But there is just so much info I want to ask The Google that comes up during the day and I don’t have time to look into. It is a huge time suck that keeps me from reading more substantive things.

    I would love a Totebag book club.

  2. I scored 777 and got 3/3 correct. I do skim on the internet…what was this post about again?

    I read 30 minutes or more most nights. So many books on my TBR list…

    Would love a totebag book club, but I can’t volunteer to manage it, too much on my plate right now :)

  3. Funny! I just went to a book club last night (my husband’s) because I had a connection to the author. Didn’t like the book though, so I sat for the short time I was there without asking any questions.

    I do find, when I am trying to finish a book, that my reading speed goes up in an effort to find out what happens. :) I generally read quite fast, especially when DH and I compare.

  4. I find that I read slower on the internet than printed on paper material when reading for comprehension. (307 3/3 correct) I think it is because the pages are usually somewhat visually distracting and to stay focused takes more effort. I have tried reading books online and don’t have an e-reader. My actual reading of books declined with kids as once home from work the day was kid. household chore or volunteer focused. I would try to read just before bed and only make it a couple of pages before being fast asleep. I started listening to books on audible because I could do that while exercising or doing chores like laundry. Last summer on vacation I read a paper book and realized how much I missed the experience. I am trying to work that practice back in to my routine to read while the kids are doing homework. I would love a book club, as it gives me a deadline and forces me to read.

    For those of you with kindle or ipad or similar, do you enjoy the e-reader as much as a book? Is it harder on the eyes?

  5. This new book looked intriguing. It’s nonfiction, which I think is not the usual fare for this group.

    A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life

    From Academy Award–winning producer Brian Grazer and acclaimed business journalist Charles Fishman comes a brilliantly entertaining peek into the weekly “curiosity conversations” that have inspired Grazer to create some of America’s favorite and iconic movies and television shows—from 24 to A Beautiful Mind.

    For decades, film and TV producer Brian Grazer has scheduled a weekly “curiosity conversation” with an accomplished stranger. From scientists to spies, and adventurers to business leaders, Grazer has met with anyone willing to answer his questions for a few hours. These informal discussions sparked the creative inspiration behind many of Grazer’s movies and TV shows, including Splash, 24, A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13, Arrested Development, 8 Mile, J. Edgar, Empire, and many others.

    A Curious Mind is a brilliantly entertaining, fascinating, and inspiring homage to the power of inquisitiveness and the ways in which it deepens and improves us. Whether you’re looking to improve your management style at work or you want to become a better romantic partner, this book—and its lessons on the power of curiosity—can change your life.

  6. I thought I had slowed down to read it more carefully, and I still read the passage at over 800 w/min. But still got the questions right.

    The thing is – skimming through the news, twitter, blogs, etc doesn’t require deep comprehension, so I kind of don’t buy that this is a problem. But losing the skill to really carefully read something work-related like a contract would be a bad skill to lose. So I kind of agree, kind of disagree I suppose.

  7. I love my Kindle. I don’t find that I miss reading paper books – it is just so convenient to carry around.

  8. I much prefer e-books simply for convenience. For me they’re as easy to read as paper books. The exception is some books with graphs or other images that don’t enlarge on an e-reader or that are harder to look at in digital form.

  9. My biggest problem with e-books (I use the kindle app on my ipad) is that you have to turn the page so darn often! I think this is also associated with reading fast. :)

  10. I find that sitting in my reading chair, often with cat in attendance, is the cue that signals me to slow down and savor the printed word as I consume it. Although the pleasures of an actual book, especially a hardcover book on high quality paper with the author or designer’s chosen typeface and layout, enhance that feeling, a dedicated reading device on which I can adjust print size, background color, and other concessions to aging eyes more than makes up for the tactile loss by avoiding eyestrain. And it is much easier to hold.

    As for the WSJ tests – the entire point of speed reading or skimming is a) to figure out whether you have any interest in reading the article in depth, if it is longer or more thorough than the usual internet click bait, and b) to pick out from the article the bits on which you want to expend mental energy or memory space. Usually there is no point in retaining the exact name of the president of XYZ corp or research scientist at ABC university. In real life there will not be a test.

  11. I’d love to be part of a Totebag book club. I read for 30 – 60 minutes in the evening before bed. It helps me wind down. I usually read actual books rather than e-books. We are big Library users because collectively the kids and I go through a lot of books. DH uses a kindle. When I travel (not very often) I wish I had a kindle. We’re about to go to Maui for a week and I’m already trying to figure out how I’ll squeeze in the 5 – 6 books I want to take in my suitcase.

  12. E-readers are a godsend for me particularly when traveling (and especially when we are on a true vacation where I may end up reading a lot). A few years ago we went on a weeklong beach vacation and even with 7 books (which were a pain to drag along) I was having to ration my reading by the end of the week. Now I can just take the iPad (or Kindle for outside reading) and always have the option to easily pick up another book. So great.

  13. I read the passage at an average speed and am not aware that I’ve started skimming in general. I don’t read many books anymore, and rarely for 30 minutes at a time, but I miss reading. I also have noticed my eyes declining in the past few weeks and may schedule a visit to the eye doctor but I’m hoping to hold out for a few months while Baby WCE is tempted to grab glasses.

    I can “read” at a faster speed but then lose some information. I’m a little surprised to find I’m an average speed reader- I’m way faster than the engineers I know, and am more apt than Mr WCE to miss information conveyed in a graph or an equation. I’ve never read on an e-reader other than e-mails on my i-phone. I’ve been thinking of getting a tablet.

  14. My comprehension is better with a real, physical book, but I use my Kindle all the time. It’s so convenient. My vision was never great and it just gets worse with age. I much prefer a “real” Kindle with e-ink; it’s much easier on the eyes. My tablet gives me a headache after awhile.

    The Internet has been terrible for my ability to concentrate. I hop around all the time. If I had to take English Lit now, I wonder if I’d still be able to press through a boring literary masterpiece.

  15. WCE, you may want to hold off a few months anyway. I went for an eye exam when DD was three months old and my prescription was dramatically worse. Got new glasses and contacts. Three months later, my eyes were back to my pre pregnancy prescription.

    Happened again with the next two kids. Apparently my eyes swell when I’m pregnant.

  16. WCE – I had the same experience with vision and pregnancy as Sky. I had DD#1 when I went in to see the opthamologist as I noticed the decline as I was preparing to go back to work. He noted that among other things pregnancy can affect eye sight, but it is usually temporary. He recommended I just plow through it and come back once I had finished breast feeding or if it was causing headaches or I experienced an significant reduction in vision. Yes, I still needed new glasses after that, but it was no where near as strong as what he would have given me 6 months earlier.

  17. I don’t read books as much as I used to. I blame this on movies and documentaries being available on mobile devices. I tend to watch more media rather than read. Also I get sucked into short articles rather than one long book.
    I tend to use my phone both for movie watching and reading.
    The small screen doesn’t bother me.

  18. Thanks for the comments on how vision changes during pregnancy/nursing. I knew it often changed around 40 and was just surprised at the speed/magnitude of the change. I’ll wait a few months and appreciate the information.

  19. @SSM – I lugged 5 or 6 books to Oahu about 10 years ago. I think I ended up leaving them behind as a donation to the condo (or the cleaning crew). A few weeks later in b-school, we had a case study on the development of e-readers. I was amazed at the idea of being able to carry all those books in my purse.

    I had a Kindle Fire for a while, but DD broke it. When I finally decided to replace it, I had started using an iPhone and decided to go for the Kindle Paperwhite just for reading. It’s better on the eyes and the Fire was not very good for surfing & email at the time (maybe better now). I love it! I try to use my local library, but everything I want to read has long hold times. (I’m currently #164 on 6 copies of one title.) I was using Kindle Unlimited a lot when I wasn’t working, but I think I’m going to drop it now that I’m back to only 1 or 2 books/month.

  20. I’m old school, I love a “real” book. It would be nice to have a kindle for travel though.

  21. I like my Kindle a lot, but I can’t say I love it because of some issues. But at current prices, especially with sales (less than $100 for a kindle fire) it’s probably worth the money.

    I bought it because age was taking its toll on my eyes. I read when I exercise, so I don’t want to wear glasses, and the kindle allows me to set a font large enough to not need glasses, and being able to change the brightness makes ambient lighting a non-issue. And the savings of changing my local newspaper subscription from daily hardcopy to digital with weekend hardcopy has pretty much paid for the kindle already.

    I’ve also found it to be very good on vacations. Not only do I load some reading material, but I also load things like travel guide books, maps, and itineraries. At WDW, I used it while waiting in line to read this blog (wifi is pretty good throughout WDW), email, and my regular news feeds.

  22. This is giving me flashbacks to ninth grade, when we had a mandatory course in speed reading. Grades were calculated on how much we improved over the time of the course, and how well we followed the instructions during class. We were to turn the page every time there was a beep, so I’d finish the page and wait for the beep. We were also supposed to wipe down the page with our hand, which I didn’t do often enough. I don’t remember actual speeds, but at the end of the course I was reading at about the 80th percentile of grade students. I got a D.

    The patterns described in the internet reading article are some things I’ve noticed and worried about in myself. I also have eye issues these days. I think glasses and regular time in my reading chair, not necessarily the tips and tricks of speed reading. I’ve pretty much given up on getting the things I need to read electronically, at least the books. I may start transferring articles to the Kindle and reading them on it. That would require me to take notes in a notebook instead of post-it notes on the page itself.

  23. My score was pretty average (311) but I slowed down because there was a quiz and I don’t read as fast on computer screens.

    I have a kindle fire and that’s the way I read most books. I wanted to read a book a month this year and so far I am on pace to do that (4 in January, none in Feb, and finished two this week while on spring break). I go through phases with reading. I have a back log of about 10 books on my kindle waiting to be read (I go through all of the kindle deals and just never pay more than $4)

  24. @ Wine, I’ve read seven but have another 3 or 4 on my kindle ready to read.:)

    Am I the only one that hated “life after life”? I thought it was so boring.

  25. Looks like the test brings up the same passage every time. I’d like to try it under different circumstances, to see how much my speed changes when I’m distracted or groggy or inside or outside. I got 1029 under what I think are very good conditions. 3/3, but I was shaky on the second question. I’m much better at getting he argument right, the kinds of things in the first question, and frequently have to go back for names and numbers.

  26. I mostly read on a Kindle Fire, occasionally with a real book or on my phone. I find the experience pretty interchangeable. Which is not the case with trying to read a book on a computer screen — for whatever reason, I don’t find that as easy. I think it has something to do with the ability to curl up and hold your “book.”

    Kindle Unlimited is essential for our household as we have five readers and some of them go through a lot of books. I’ve also been checking ebooks out of the library more often now that our library system has shifted to using Overdrive, which allows you to check books out in Kindle format and uses Amazon as the go-between — you basically just send the book to your device or devices of choice the same way you would send anything else in your Amazon library.

  27. I love to read novels and find that as the kids are getting older I have more time to read. I can now read uninterrupted on Saturday mornings! During the week it is a bit harder because if I have 15 minutes to spare I’m more likely to be surfing my phone. I have a kindle, but prefer the paperback. I find the library waitlist to get an ebook to be ridiculous (months of waiting), and don’t like to buy books (our mutual friend’s book excluded). The key to avoid long waits for non e-books is to request the large print. The number of requests is low and I think the main user of large print have more time in the day to read and return those books faster.

  28. One of the big problems I see with my students is that they spent so much time in HS reading lightweight novels that they never learned how to read dense technical material, or even dense nonfiction of any type. When I teach the freshman sequence, I have to remind them over and over to slow down, and to read and reread slowly, I actually give them a handout with advice on reading technial writing. One thing I tell them, and have them do in lab sessions, is to always read with their laptop open and with their programming environment set up. I tell them to download the code from the textbook, and then play with it as they read. If they are reading about linked lists, try changing around some of the code and see what happens. That is what I do when I am learning a new CS topic.

  29. Lemon, what kinds of deadlines do you have for your reading? My son uses Overdrive at the library. His strategy is to immediately request anything he hears of that sounds interesting and not care when they arrive. He has a constant stream of new books arriving. He reads most of them, but the good news is that if he doesn’t, the paperback doesn’t get shoved under a chair; it is automatically returned, for free. But if your reading is more targeted than fiction for fun, that might not work for you.

  30. I have a Kindle (the paperwhite), which is a real e-reader, not a tablet. I love the thing. I can slide it in my purse and read while I am waiting for the photocopier to spit out 50 copies of my exam. I can set the font big enough that I can see the words (otherwise I would have to wear glasses, and I hate glasses). I love that it is a device completely dedicated to reading – real old fashioned reading. I would never want to do my real reading on a computer or a tablet. Too many distriactions, too much pinching and swiping, or mousing, and I dislike the glare.

  31. Mooshi – would love to see this handout. I am getting a sense that my HS student isn’t very good at this skill and could benefit.

  32. Haha, I’ve only read 2 of the books on that Oyster list. Not surprising since I tend to like commercial mysteries & thrillers. However, a couple from the list are in my library queue and I just added a few more. My favorite book of the last few years is still Wish You Well, a departure from David Baldacci’s typical thrillers. The movie, shot in the next county over the mountain and starring Ellen Burstyn & Josh Lucas, is finally being released on DVD & VOD in June! I was so bummed when I was out of town the weekend they hosted the premier at our small-town historical theater.

  33. Mooshi, your comment about the importance of understanding reminds me of when my AP computer teacher surprised me by giving me full credit for a wrong answer on an exam. My high school was usually very regurgitative/fill-in-the-blank-and-don’t-think, but this teacher was different. We were studying sort efficiencies and he asked us to write a bubble sort (I think) for some set of data. I couldn’t remember the details of the sort he asked about, so I made up my own, equally efficient sort. When we got the exams back, I told him I had not done the order of the bubble sort correctly, and he said he knew that but since my made-up sort had the same efficiency, he gave me full credit, because in life, efficiency, not remembering which sort had what name, was what was important.

    Obviously, this response was so unusual at that time in my life that I remember it 20+ years later.

  34. I read Wish You Well when it came out, didn’t know they made a movie of it

  35. That site reminds me of a speed reading class I took in college. The gist of it was to just skim instead of reading every word. Then they would have comprehension tests that were ridiculously easy, so people would leave thinking they could read a millon words a minute with perfect comprehension. Then as soon as you tried using the “techniques” to read something for class, you’d realize you didn’t have a clue what you just read.

  36. On my 1:07, that should be “graduate students” not whatever “grade students” would be. The point was that I was reading way high for my grade level at the beginning of the course, a teeny bit higher at the end, and so got a lousy grade for not improving.

  37. I love, love to read and I’ll take my damn time. If one reads a good writer’s work, many sentences are poetry. (Our friend who wrote a book might want to give her thoughts on this. She had a couple of them in there.)

    My favorite author is Pat Conroy. If I could write, I would write like him. Beach Music is my favorite of his books, although of his fans, I’m in the minority on this.

    Anyway, I love to see how books are structured and planned out, or not. (Jay McInerney’s books I swear are written as a run on sentence, and not a very profound one at that.) I find it hard to get my arms around the craft of a writer– a story teller, really.

    In my work, I plod. I had a porky client ask me once, “How long does it take you to read a damn document?” I was pissed and replied in all earnestness, “Two pages per minute.” And I was right and that speed has pretty much kept up through all these years.

    I don’t read too many novels any more. I think I’ve reached the point in my life where I want to read real things. But for me, a good book is something to be savored.

  38. Rhett – Re: NYT Apple Watch review.

    The reviewer, Farhad Manjoo, is an unabashed Apple cultist/devotee/apologist. His review earlier this week of Samsung S6 is completely out of step with all other reviewers, and basically boils down to, it doesn’t matter how much they improve this product, it isn’t an I Phone so why bother.

    I found his article about the watch fascinating, with all the spiritual musings about how when improved to version 4.0 it will revolutionize the way one uses portable technology just as the I phone did before it. He sees it as freeing because currently he is chained to the phone screen – he cannot bear to miss any communication update, text, tweet, etc or news update and uses his phone for much of daily transactional life. By customizing the haptic cues he can leave the phone in his pocket, filter and classify the notification of inflows to those 10? (25? 55? 105?) per hour he deems vital and actually look at the person he is with or where he is going, with just a surreptitious glance at his wrist to make sure he has processed the vibrations correctly. The NYT commentator base skews very old and those that aren’t are often self consciously throwback. I rarely comment there, but on some topic I mentioned the age skew and several people made sure to tell me I was wrong – they were under 50 and just had good judgment, not nostalgia, which just proved my point.

    II personally hope that version 4.0 of this or an Android equivalent or of some entirely new platform either is completely self contained without porting from a smartphone, or has a range the size of a twenty person office floor or a normal sized house. Then it would be great.

  39. No, no, no. NO! Should have read two minutes per page. I’m sorry. See, I can’t write.

  40. I love to read, but don’t do it as much as I used to (I used to huddle in my car for very long lunch hours when I was in the middle of a particularly good book, and I have been known to read at stoplights). Once I had kids I switched to lighter fare like magazines that I could read in short bursts. I’ve been in a book club for many years and that gets me reading a lot of bestsellers and sometimes quirky books, some of which I like and others that are a chore to get through – I assign myself 50 or 100 pages a day to finish in time for book club day!

    I loved English mysteries by Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers and Ngaio Marsh, and I am always on the lookout for modern versions of these oldies but goodies. I also love fun chick lit like Bridget Jones’ Diary or some of Sophie Kinsella’s books.

    I always have a book or two on my iPhone in case I get stuck somewhere, but it is not my normal way to read – I prefer a real book.

  41. for those looking at the list- what was your favorite book they mentioned?

    I think mine would be Eleanor & Park or We Were Liars

  42. SSK — Daisy Dalrymple series by Carola Dunn. G.M. Malliett’s books. That French Canadian series by Louise Penny. Oh, and of the ones from the period, did you ever read Georgette Heyer’s mysteries (written as contemporaries, but same era as Christie) or the guilty-pleasure Miss Silver ones by Patricia Wentworth?

    @Mémé has a range the size of a twenty person office floor or a normal sized house I finally managed to order an Amazon Echo (got an invitation once before but didn’t spot it for a while in my “promotions” folder and the invitation expires after a week) but will have to wait till June-July for it to actually arrive. I think the range is more on the order of one floor of a house, though.

  43. Totally agree with you, PTM, that a good book is to be savored. Sometimes, after finishing a really good book, I need to digest it and let it roll around in mind for a few days before I start a new one.

    I’ve read seven books on the Oyster list. DD is an avid reader, my boys and DH are not. I recently proofed one of DS’s papers, and after arguing with him over a few points, it dawned on me that he reads so little that he doesn’t appreciate good writing – and he doesn’t realize where his own writing is lacking.

    My town has an annual program where a book is chosen by the library, many people read it, and then the author is invited to give a live talk about her book. It’s always a sold out crowd and I find it fascinating to hear how the author structured and developed the book, different paths it took before it became final, etc.

    I have a Kindle Fire and I prefer it to paper books but I’m less than thrilled with the speed and the apps. I wonder if the later versions are faster and have more apps. It’s gotten to the point where I do a lot of reading on my iPhone 6.

  44. On reading leading to good writing–there is a process there, it is not immediate! My kid employs vocabulary and devices he’s seen in books in his papers, often more than would be helpful. I don’t think it’s my place to “correct” this. I comment on the vivid descriptions or whatever, and praise the effort.

  45. Trying again…
    On that Oyster list, I have only read one book (Just Kids, of course. Worse yet, I have not even heard of most of those books. The list is really light on nonfiction.

    I am reading The Half Has Never Been Told Right now. It is more up my alley. I would put a link to it here, but I suspect that is what caused by post to disappera

  46. Amazon Echo? I didn’t even know there was such a thing. We could even use it to control our HJue lights.

  47. Rhett, I know, right? “Amazon, dim the lights and play [Pandora station].” I am looking forward to playing with this thing, assuming I can ever get the kids to stop asking it silly questions to see what it answers (as they will inevitably do).

  48. Also supposedly the ability to call it something other than “Amazon” or “Alexa” will be coming at some point. Cthulhu? George? Cadbury?

  49. honolulumother – I just finished one of GM Malliett’s books (with the handsome vicar) and did not love it – I am not sure why. Maybe I’ll try another one. I have read several of the Miss Silver books and enjoyed them. I’ll try your other suggestions – thank you!

  50. I think Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane and Andrew Smith’s Winger should have made the list.

  51. I’ve really enjoyed the Louise Penny books – I second HM’s recommendation.

  52. Well, I think we need Ris’s comments here. Does anyone know her phone number to wake her up?

    I can’t write worth crap, but I’d love Risley’s thoughts on Pat Conroy.

  53. “On reading leading to good writing”

    For all you writers out there (hello, Risley, winemama, et al)– what novels would you recommend to a wannabe novelist?

  54. Finn, anything by Pat Conroy. Anything by Hemmingway (but take a drink every time the protagonist does). Not a damn thing by John Michner unless you want to be rich. Saul Bellow could not be better, but he is frustrating. Shakespere invented the written word, I think. but Larry David does it better. Of course, you could google the author of Five Days. I don’t know her name, and if I did, I wouldn’t say it. But that was a book that was structured pretty well, although I have two comments on it, which I’ll hold.

  55. OT: Since the rest of you do not seem to practice my level of child supervision, I have just left the 6 yo and almost 4 yo alone downstairs for 20 minutes watching TV so I could give the baby a bath. (Okay, I did check them on the nanny cam a few times.)

    They are still alive.

  56. Wine – I think Eleanor and Park and Daughter of Smoke and Bone (actually enjoyed all three books in the trilogy) were so awesome. I liked Flash Boys but I am a Michael Lewis fan.

  57. Off-topic: what language-learning programs have people here used? Carnegie Mellon? The Peace Corps? The Foreign Service? Was it any good?

  58. A question: Anyone have opinions on juicing as a way to consume more vegetables and/or lose weight? Any juicer recommendations?

  59. Okay, CofC, if we’re going to change the topic here, let’s go back to talking about my Lincoln Continental. After church Sunday, Junior and I actually headed up to Ft. Lauderdale to the nearest Lincoln/Mercury dealer. My new best friend told me he would keep me posted and that I would be one of the first to get Ris’s brother’s discount.

    I am now only slightly south of Nirvana. On the other hand, I’m looking at those new Cadillacs lovingly.

  60. Congratulations, Sky. I helpfully warned our babysitter that it was normal for them to climb the trees so they were even with the roof of our two story house, and that they would not get stuck.

  61. CoC, here’s my diet cauliflower soup recipe, roughly from the Celestial Seasons box.
    one head cauliflower, in pieces
    6 bags chamomile tea
    1-2 T Better than Bouillon (I like the low salt version from Costco)
    Cover cauliflower pieces with water. Add tea bags and bouillon, cook till cauliflower is soft.

    Meanwhile, cook
    ~1 c sweet or white onion
    ~1 1/2 c celery or to taste in a little bit of fat (butter, olive oil, whatever)
    until soft.

    Blend the cauliflower mixture (don’t drain it) and onion/celery mixture in your blender. (I have an Oster from Walmart, so you need not have a Vitamix) Have a bowl when you feel like eating something. (Hopefully this helps me take off the baby weight.)

  62. Oh, that cauliflower soup recipe looks interesting. It might fit the bill. But why the chamomile?

  63. Probably because it was a way to sell tea- the chamomile gives it a bit of flavor but you could leave it out. That’s why I noted it was from the Celestial Seasons box. I have friends who juice, but I haven’t done it myself.

  64. Lauren, I don’t know all the details of my friend’s son who interviewed for Harvard, but he has chosen on non-Ivy university.

  65. I can count on one hand the books I’ve read on that list. I’m currently reading Wild and so far I’m liking it. I held off reading it because I felt I would be to annoyed at the main character. A House In the Sky was a good memoir, but also annoying.

  66. I’ve read three of the books on that list, and I’ve only even heard of five others.

  67. I loved Flash Boys, and enjoyed Thinking, Fast and Slow and Gone Girl. (Although that writer is a bit twisted.) The Girl on the Train is on my short list. I’ve read about three others on the list, but they didn’t strike me as anything I’d put on 100 Best list.

  68. Catching up before I walk down the street to our lovely little coffee shop so I can read for an hour or two with DH before it’s time to fetch the kids and catch a train. I brought my Kindle because I didn’t want to lug books, but I’d much rather hold a book.

    PTM – I like Pat Conroy a lot. DH loves him, owns all of his books, keeps them at the cottage and rereads at least 1 every summer.

    I would like to add more non-fiction to my reading. This group is such a good source for those books. Where do you all find the non-fic you read? From reviews, or the non-fict section of the store/site, or where? Yesterday, I picked up a book of letters written by a typist who worked in the War Rooms, and would have liked to buy about 10 others–on life during the blitz, stories about the kids who were sent out of the city, etc. “They” say “everyone is writing about WWII these days,” but I can see why – fascinating. When we get home, I think I’ll read Hilary Mantel.

    Wine – I’ve been dying to read All The Light We Cannot See (WW II again) and your list is a good reminder.

  69. @ Risley – I can’t understand why Wolf Hall and Bringing Up the Bodies made such a big splash. Philippa Gregory in her novels has already covered the same territory. Is it because Philippa is a novelist vs. a respected historian like Hilary Mantel ?

    I saw “Wild” the movie and I thought of WCE. I am sure now the Pacific Crest trail is overflowing with hikers.

  70. Ris, I prefer non-fiction, and I get recommendations all over the place. Milo and Rhett have been good sources. The New York Review of Books is a favorite, although sometimes the reviews are so long you don’t care about the books anymore. My library does a nice job of featuring new titles on their website and in the displays.

    CoC, I don’t get the juicing fad. I think you waste a lot of vegetable matter that way. I make soup. I dump a big bag of frozen low-carb vegetables in a pot, add that Better than Bouillon that WCE mentioned, simmer til soft, then puree with a stick blender. I often add a big punch of garam masala from the local Indian market to make it all taste less like vegetables.

    If you google for “zero points soup” you’ll find ten million Weight Watchers recipes. The soup is a standard Weight Watchers strategy for killing your appetite when you’re out of points for the day.

    A good recipe that’s actually tasty: dump a couple of bags of frozen cauliflower in a pot, cover with water and a bunch of cloves of garlic (those peeled ones in a bag from Costco or Sams are excellent for this), add the Better than Bouillon, add a bay leaf, and simmer til the cauli is soft. Remove bay leaf and puree. It’s really good.

  71. Totally off topic… sandal ads are now appearing on my Facebook and Gmail pages. I am generally immune to shoe ads, and not much of a clothing shopper, but I do love sandals. And this year, probably because of the icky winter, I am drooling over the sandals. I don’t even need any – my pair from last year is perfectly fine. How many pairs of sandals am I allowed to buy this year? 3? 5?

    Here is a pair I really like

  72. So out of those books I read: 11/22/63 (interesting but WHY does he always put gross stuff even in his non-horror books?), The Goldfinch (only OK, kind of boring), Bossypants (awesome), Bring Up the Bodies (awesome), Gone Girl (terrible), Flash Boys (pretty good but not his best). I have heard of a bunch more, but I don’t tend to like the ‘serious’ fiction as much as the reviewers do, so never want to run out and spend on those. I will put some on my library hold list.

    Louise – hard to tell. Philippa Gregory had a lot of sex in her novels and also writes mainly about women, two things that often, unfortunately, mean you’re not regarded as “serious”. But having read both of Mantel’s and a few of Gregory’s, I find Mantel’s writing to be just gorgeous and very evocative of the setting – you can just about see and smell and taste what’s happening – whereas Gregory’s writing is more “standard” historical fiction, if that makes any sense.

  73. Thank you WCE & RMS for the soup ideas! I’m asking for a friend, and I’m going to suggest this option. Personally, I get so much more satisfaction from CHEWING food, so I don’t like to puree vegetables and I find no appeal in smoothies or juices.

    MM, go ahead and get another pair of sandals. Since I have extremely problematic feet, I buy shoes whenever I find some that appeal to me and that actually fit. Chances are good that I’ll have to give them away after a few times wearing, but so be it. One of my treats is to visit DSW, wander up and down the aisles trying on as many shoes as possible. I’m going to try to make time for such an outing next week.

  74. Finn- I am currently reading Stephen King’s On Writing, I think most writers would agree it is a must read

  75. HM and SSK – Huge mystery fan…love the ones you mentioned…here’s some other authors – Charles Finch, Rex Stout (Nero Wolfe), Susan Elia McNeal (Royal Spyness – very light), Charles Todd (Ian Rutledge – main character has PSTD so can be dark), Christopher Fowler (Bryant and Mays), and Henning Mankell (Kurt Wallander – set in Sweden). DIfferent genre, but I love Jasper Fforde’s Tuesday Next series.

  76. I am currently reading Stephen King’s On Writing, I think most writers would agree it is a must read

    Of course you need to find other sources if you want help with writing endings. The problem with most of King’s books (at least the ones I’ve read) is the endings suck.

  77. Most of my non-fiction is related to human geography. Here’s one that might have broader appeal: Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams: A Social History of Modern Florida, by Gary Mormino.

  78. I have a list at home of a few other writing books I’ve been meaning to buy, can look up this weekend

  79. Mooshi, what does your TIAA-CREF advisor say about sandal purchases?

    S&M, that Florida book looks interesting. Why is it that nothing I want to read is Amazon Unlimited?

  80. I almost never read non-fiction. If I want to learn something I’ll watch something on History or Discovery channel :)

  81. Off topic , thinking about doing another exam, to go for the alphabet soup look after my name, maybe the CMA or CIA…

  82. All the Light We Cannot See was beautiful (if a bit slow at times). I loved Gone Girl and I know people hated the ending, but I thought it was the only way it could have ended.

  83. Austinmom – thanks for the suggestions! I just ordered one of HM’s list in paperback and one for my iphone, so I should be all set for a little while. I’ve heard of some of authors you mentioned, but I’ll make a list of all of the new ones.

    We just finished All the Light We Cannot See in my book club, and I enjoyed it a lot. The Girl on the Train is next! Right now I am reading a retelling of Emma by Alexander MacCall Smith. A group of today’s writers are doing modern versions of Jane Austen. So far I am enjoying it, but that is because I am a fan of Smith as well as Austen.

    I loved Wolf Hall and Bringing Up the Bodies. I am recording the series to watch, but I think you have to be in a certain mood – and have no distractions! – to watch it.

    The Boys in the Boat, Seabiscuit are both non-fiction favorites, and I have Monuments Men in my bookshelf to read (after finishing All the Light We Cannot See and reading about the new movie Woman in Gold I want to get started on it).

  84. SSK – will check out the ones you mention. Yes, I love Alexander MacCall Smith – especially the Scotland Street series.

  85. I missed a good discussion! Getting back into work has sucked royally this week. Not on the home front, but on the work front. I’m going to be flat out for the foreseeable future.

    I’d love a book club – I want an excuse to read again!

  86. “Right now I am reading a retelling of Emma by Alexander MacCall Smith. A group of today’s writers are doing modern versions of Jane Austen.”

    I want to read these

  87. I recently read The Girl on the Train and liked it. Also liked All the Light We Cannot See. I hated Gone Girl. Not just the ending. From the first page. I forced myself to read the whole thing thinking it would get better. It did not. I accidentally read Sharp Objects and hated it, too. I read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks again and enjoyed it.

  88. I have 20+ books that I own I still need to read, yet I keep checking out library books

  89. Off the top of my head, Pet Sematary, The Dead Zone, It, The Dark Half, Gerald’s Game, Christine, which are most of the ones I read. And the Dark Tower books, especially the one that didn’t have an ending and just had an author’s note that he couldn’t think of an ending but published the book anyway. I stopped reading his books because I got tired of the crappy endings.

  90. hmm I haven’t read Dark Tower books, Dark Half, Dead Zone, or Christine.

    Gerald’s Game isn’t one of his better books

    Loved Pet Sematary and It

  91. My post was deleted again. I guess WordPress can’t handle Amazon links?

    What I said was

    Last year, I only read two novels, I believe. One was The Pearl That Broke Its Shell, which is one of those “life is horrible and unbearable for women in Afghanistan” stories. It was too preachy and obvious for me. I would have preferred a collection of actual women’s narratives, I think.

  92. Cat S – also hated all of Gone Girl. I have a really hard time liking a book when I hate all of the characters in it.

  93. Saac, thanks for that book recommendation. Will I hate it? Despite what I say, I do love Florida but I think it is the strangest place on the planet. Maybe the solar system. Maybe beyond. But it’s history is fascinating. With the exception of St. Augustine, Florida has no history. With Flagler, the guy who built all your west coast railroads– I forget his name, Turner?, Edison and Ford and Truman, Florida became a thing. But most of our history is not much more than 100 years old. (Tell that to Philadelphia!) That is like 4 generations.

    Risley, I am beyond delighted that your husband likes Pat Conroy. If you feel like it, ask him what he thinks of Beach Music– that one rang so true to me. I’d be interested to hear.

    As for non-fiction, well, I go to bookstores. There is a wonderful one in Coral Gables and another in Coconut Grove. Both are stores to spend hours in, and both do a lot for their communities. I am sure they will close.

    I just browse. I leave Junior on the curb where he can drink and smoke and ogle vixens for a couple of hours while I pick up and examine almost every book I see.

    I hate to say it, but Amazon is a good source for recommendations too. They know me better than my mother did. Yesterday, I bought David Muculloch’s Wright Brothers book (and I’m sure I didn’t spell his name wright.) His Brooklyn Bridge book remains one of my favorites.

  94. Rhode, sorry the first week back has sucked. According to my friends, the first week back is almost always totally overwhelming, but it gets better. Of course, that doesn’t make surviving it any more pleasant. So congrats on making it through!

  95. The Florida book is written from a kind of “gosh this is fascinating” kind of tone, where “fascinating” is on the border between “cool” and “weird”. I’d love to hear what others think of it.

    RMS, a similar one closer to you, but with a little bit more theory (but still very palatable, imo) is The Myth of Santa Fe: Creating a Modern Regional Tradition by Chris Wilson. Tell me what you think of it.

  96. Yeah, Saac. That’s right. My mind must have gone somewhere out to play (and got eaten by a cat).

  97. Are you sure it wasn’t a gator?
    Read the Mormino book. As I read it, I was repeatedly mystified that he seems to like Florida, overall.

  98. June – Thanks. I knew it would be tough – I’m on the organizing team for a conference happening next week (synergistic activity), we have a large report due at the end of the year that has all the components finalized, so we have to write the sections now, and just figuring out how to balance parenthood with my job. I can’t stay late anymore, nor do I want to. But then I get home and have the conference things to do (lots of treasury duties…) and all I want to do is snuggle on the couch with my boys.

    I keep reminding myself that tomorrow is a new day.

  99. Thank you all for the book suggestions! It’s my turn to choose a book for my book club and now I’ll have lots of options. I’m currently reading The Boys in the Boat for my book club. We just finished All The Light We Cannot See. I enjoyed it.

  100. Ginger, you all will like Boys in the Boat. It is well done. Very evocative of another time.

  101. Rocky – I didn’t know you liked my book recs. will you read Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors and tell me what you think? I was a lot more emotional about that book than I expected to be.

    PTM – Did you like South of Broad? I think my favorite Conroys are Lords of Didcipline and Great Santini.

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