Sometimes when you read a book quickly, like you’re cramming it in fast for a test or presentation the next week or you simply have the time to read it in a couple of days because you’re lounging by the pool on holiday, I feel like you don’t remember it nearly as well as you could if you took your time over it – if you read, say, 30-40 pages a day for a couple of weeks and gave it time to digest. I think it’s a huge shame when you’ve gone to the trouble of reading a book from cover to cover, no matter how long it took you, if you can’t remember it in any detail 6 months or a year later.
I read something once (I’m afraid I can’t be more specific than that) about how your body processes information whilst you sleep. That’s why you dream; it’s your body making sense of all the thoughts and images you’ve had since your last sleep. In effect, it stops you going mad. And, as most of you probably already know, you dream every night, even if you don’t remember it the next morning. In fact, usually you only remember it if you’ve been woken up mid-dream.
With this in mind, it is my belief that you need to read a book slowly, perhaps over a couple of weeks, in order to have enough sleeps for your mind to process what you’re reading properly. If you read a book in one go, and therefore have one sleep to process, then its more than likely, along with all the other information your mind has picked up that day, that you won’t remember the majority of what you have read. Whereas, if you build up your knowledge of the book in steady stages, sort of like building a lego wall, adding a new block each day, then you process only small sections of the book at a time. Overall you will process more of it and more of it will turn into long term memory. In turn, you will remember more of it 6 months later.
So although it’s fashionable to read as many books as possible as quickly as you humanely can right now, especially with the New Year just passed and everyone setting their targets for how many books they plan to read in 2016, maybe don’t jump on that bandwagon and just take a breath and take your time. Just because Agatha Christie read 200 books per year doesn’t mean you have to. Maybe reading just 20-30 that you’ll remember most of your life is better than having a vast library you have absolutely no idea about.
Over and out –