Blogmas #13: Double Speed Entertainment

I read the strangest article in the New York Times last night, about people speed-watching TV. The concept, basically, was that there are so many must-watch series these days that no one can possibly keep up with them all, so some people watch them at up to two times their normal speed. My initial reaction was pretty much "... what??" I mean, to me, that doesn't sound like actually watching whatever it is. It's like trying to listen to a song at double speed. It's not the same song any more. You're going to get a super-extended summary of the story, but you're not really experiencing it. Like, maybe, instead of watching at double speed to cram more TV into their free time, they could just watch less shows? Curate what they watch more precisely? Entertainment isn't another life checklist item to get through as quickly as possible.

But I thought about this article a lot today, and I suddenly realised: this is my approach to books. Endless piles of books to read. Constant awareness of how many pages until the end of the chapter, how many pages until the end of the book, what percentage of the way through am I, how long does Kindle think the rest will take me? Read quickly, read more, check things off the list and jump onto the next, because there are so many books, and there's so little time. If there was a button that allowed me to read at double speed, I would probably use it. I certainly don't have the patience for most fiction audio books, because they go sooo slooowly.

I don't think this is going to change my thoughts on double speed TV. That doesn't sound even vaguely relaxing or entertaining to me. But maybe I should consider the benefits of reading slower. Taking my time. Enjoying the idea of all the books in the world I could possibly choose to read next, rather than panicking because I haven't read them already.

I mean, I don't know how to take that approach. This idea of always having one eye on the page count is pretty deeply engrained. But it's something to consider. Turning off the timer at the bottom of the Kindle. Not flicking ahead to find the end of the chapter. And maybe, maybe, not worrying too much about all the books I haven't read yet when there's a book to enjoy reading right now.